Editor charged with sedition for abusing Modi

The editor of a Gujarati eveninger, Manoj Shinde, who is facing sedition charges for using "abusive words" against CM Narendra Modi in an editorial on Monday, was sent to judicial custody by Chief Judicial Magistrate R P Mehta today.

Shinde, editor of Gujarat eveninger, Surat Saamna, had used "abusive words" against Modi and his babus while alleging administrative failure in tackling the flood situation in Surat. He also held them responsible for the epidemic outbreak after the floodwaters had receded in the city.

People close to Shinde believe that Modi has deliberately targeted him as he has been associated with the Congress. He is a media convenor of the Congress for flood relief and other political programmes.

Following the arrest, Congress leaders on Wednesday organised a dharna outside the Police Commissioner's office in protest against the government action. "He has highlighted the common feelings of the people in Surat. The Modi government has taken this step to silence the media in Surat," Sunil Bhukhanwala, president of Surat City Congress said.

Shinde was picked up from his residence by the officers of the Detection of Crime Branch, following orders by Commissioner of Police Sudhir Sinha on Tuesday morning.

DCB Police Inspector V J Jadeja on Tuesday lodged a complaint against Shinde on behalf of the government of Gujarat under Section 124A (sedition: anyone who by words or expression of any kind brings or attempts to bring or provoke a feeling of hatred, contempt or disaffection towards government established by law shall be punished with life imprisonment) 292, 293, 294(b) (dealing with obscene publication), 500 (defamation), 501 (printing and aggravating matter against union territory or Chief Minister) and 502 and 505(1) (circulation of false statement against the public peace) under the Indian Penal Code.

Renowned lawyer and human rights activist Girish Patel said, "Shinde's editorial doesn't amount to sedition as the comments were against an individual. The tendency here is that the CM considers himself to be Gujarat. It is not sedition even if he is called Hitler. It may amount to defamation but not sedition."

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