On September 3, 2018, a doctoral student of Physics at the University of Montreal, Louis Sophia, was arrested at the Tuticorin airport for shouting “fascist BJP government down down”, on a flight.
A day after her arrest, i.e. today, September 4, 2018, she has been released on bail granted by the Thoothukudi court. The woman, Sophia, allegedly made the remark when she saw BJP politician Tamilisai Soundararajan, who then filed a police complaint.
In a video that went viral on social media, Soundararajan can be seeing arguing with Sophia at the arrival lounge of the Thoothukudi airport. Soundararajan was later quoted as saying “She did not look like a normal person. I am not scared or worried about her. The other passengers inside the flight should not be affected by her, that’s why I responded. In a public place people can shout but nobody has the right to shout in an aircraft.”
Sophia was sent to a 15-day judicial custody and FIR was filed against her under sections 290 (public nuisance) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and section 75(1)(c) of the Tamil Nadu Police Act, 1888.
Sophia’s father – AA Sami, a retired government official, has filed a police complaint against the Tamil Nadu BJP Chief and a few others for “criminal intimidation”.
Sophia’s arrest has been condemned by many politicians and activists.
DMK Chief – MK Stalin tool to twitter to tweet against Sophia’s arrest. He asserted that this was an act against the freedom of speech and expression. “Sophia should be immediately released. You will have to arrest lakhs of people who raise slogans like this. I will also raise the slogan ‘BJP fascist govt. down down’,” he wrote.
Supreme Court Advocate and Activist Mr. Prashant Bhushan also tweeted, “Student from Montreal Univ arrested and sent to judicial custody on BJP complaint that she had called Modi’s govt fascist! Earlier prosecutor charges arrested Human Rights activists were ‘Urban Naxals’ because they formed Anti-Fascist front! This is Fascism!”