Police should respect freedom of speech, not waste time hounding Kerala’s crossword players
In Karnataka and Goa, there has been a rash of police action against people who have posted criticism of the new PM on social media. At the centre of such intimidation is Information Technology Act’s ambiguously worded Section 66A. Its many absurdities, such as equating annoyance with criminal intimidation, encourage police high-handedness. It definitely belongs in the list of arbitrary laws whose only `use’ is to harass citizens. Modi has said he wants to phase out arbitrary laws as part of his `minimum government, maximum governance’ programme. Now his government should step up to the plate and use the Kerala, Karnataka and Goa cases to scrap Section 66A forthwith.
Social media posts that reflect dissent, alternative opinions, political satire or poke harmless fun at politicians make a democracy lively.
They cannot be seen to be criminal acts. Nor can college essays or crossword puzzles.