Woman scholar arrested for calling BJP govt. ‘fascist’, gets bail

Sofia was charged with "public nuisance" under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and for giving an impolite reply to a public servant under the Tamil Nadu City Police Act.

Woman scholar arrested for calling BJP govt. ‘fascist’, gets bail
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CHENNAI: A court in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday granted bail to the 25-year-old research scholar, Lois Sofia, who was arrested after shouting a slogan against the BJP on a Tuticorin-bound aircraft in which state BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan was also traveling.

On Tuesday, Judicial Magistrate III granted unconditional bail to Sofia after her father Dr. AA Samy moved a bail petition.

On Monday, on a complaint by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, police arrested Sofia, and the court remanded her in judicial custody for 15 days. The arrest, as well as the court ruling, was widely condemned in the state.

The young woman was taken to a government hospital in Tuticorin as part of the remand procedure and was admitted owing to stomach pain.

Sofia was charged with “public nuisance” under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and for giving an impolite reply to a public servant under the Tamil Nadu City Police Act.

Welcoming the bail granted to Sofia, DMK President M.K. Stalin urged the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday to withdraw the case filed against her and also take action against BJP members who had threatened her family.

Stalin said that in a democracy every individual had a right to criticise the government.

Soundararajan told reporters on Tuesday that Sophia had posted on social media that she would shout slogans against the BJP.

Sofia was seated behind BJP leader Soundararajan in the flight on Monday.

According to Soundararajan, the young woman said it was her right to raise slogans and the BJP leader alleged that she uttered “unspeakable words” at the airport lounge.

Sofia, said to be doing her research in mathematics and Physics at the University of Montreal, Canada, was returning home when she spotted the BJP leader. Suddenly, she got up and shouted: “Facist BJP government, Down down.”

On landing at Tuticorin, the BJP leader got into a verbal spat with the student and lodged a complaint with the police who arrested her.

The incident went viral in the social media platforms condemning the move.

Agency input