Mayank Mohan Sharma and KVJ Rao were the two Air India cabin crew members who were arrested by the cyber crime cell of the Mumbai department in May during this year for their activities performed on Facebook. The two have been accused of allegedly sharing lewd jokes about politicians, made derogatory comments against the Prime Minister and insulted the national flag in their Facebook posts.
The duos were arrested under the controversial 66(A) and 67 sections of the Information Technology Act. This activity not only made them serve a 12 day stay in police custody but also eventually got them suspended from their jobs.
However, according to one of the arrested crew members, Rao said that they he had merely shared content that was easily available on the Internet. A story similar to what happened to the businessman from Puducherry who was arrested for a tweet against Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s son, Karti and could face three years in jail.
Additionally, there are some untied ends since it has not been openly discussed by the media when it happened. The police made the arrest after 2 months from the time the FIR was lodged in March. The other victim Sharma added that the police had never summoned them even once. The police department is yet to make any comments on this incident and it is also not clear who had lodged the complaint. I hope, in the coming days, we would have more to add to this story.
But the debate still remains wide open. Being a Facebook user I also share, comment on posts that are politically motivated. Being a citizen of a democratic country, I have the rights to question a decision or share my thoughts which may not be liked by another group so does that mean I will be spending time in police custody.
I do not support hate speech but then who draws the line. If this is not resolved soon, we would witness a mass arrest since there are thousands of people who are doing the same on the Internet. The time has come when we look at section 66(A) more seriously rather than make such random arrests at the behest of certain opportunists.