Chennai: A teenager was arrested from Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar district for allegedly abusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a private Facebook message.
S Thirumurugan was arrested on Monday after K Marimuthu, BJP district secretary, filed a complaint with screenshots of the conversation.
Thirumurugan is a polytechnic student and a fan of actor Vijay. He has been remanded to 15-day judicial custody.
A source said that Marimuthu had shared a meme with Thirumurugan on Facebook that criticised Vijay over the Mersal row. In return, Thirumurugan 'abused' Modi and has been remanded to a 15 day judicial custody.
Marimuthu told CNN-News18 that he never criticised Vijay but shared facts on the GST dialogues from the film 'Mersal'.
“The Content was public on Facebook. Those words abusing the Prime Minister of a country, I am not even able to tell you those words. I asked him, ‘can you scold a prime minister this way?’ He said he will do it that way," Marimuthu said.
"I talked about Vijay in a decent way. The movie said that medical treatment is free for all in Singapore and that is factually incorrect. I forwarded the documents on the same. I never used filthy language. Even I am a fan of Vijay,” he added.
“I don't know why he had so much hatred towards Modi and used derogatory statements against the PM,” he said.
BJP welcomes criticism but not abuse from citizens, Narayanan Tirupathi, BJP spokesperson, said.
"Abusing is different from criticism. Abusing an individual with filthy words cannot be encouraged. BJP is welcome to any kind of criticism but unhealthy or filthy comments made by anybody is not welcome. We all live in a society. I myself am very active on social media, but I don't encourage any unhealthy comments, and I never do that,” he said.
DMK criticised the BJP over this incident. Manu Sundaram, DMK spokesperson said, "The space for dissent is shrinking rapidly and the line between democracy and dictatorship is blurring. It is a sad state of affairs when private chats are used to arrest citizens for fair criticism. In one sweep, the government has shown it does not care about free speech and privacy."
The TTV Dinakaran camp of the AIADMK said they were surprised with the action against the youth. Prasanna Alagarsamy, spokesperson for the faction, said, “Surprised over the immediate action taken, but such swiftness is not visible in solving issues affecting the welfare of the people."
The state ministers, however, were silent on the issue.