RIP democracy: After editor, now Mumbai vendor arrested for selling paper with Hebdo cartoon

It seems Mumbai has completely forgot the meaning of democracy. The Editor of an Urdu daily in Mumbai is being 'hounded and harassed' for publishing a Charlie Hebdo cartoon in her newspaper, an FIR was filed against comedy group All India Bakchod for using 'filthy' words in their AIB roast, recently the censor board beeped out the word 'Bombay' from a song of Mihir Joshi and now, a vendor has been reportedly booked for selling newspapers with Hebdo cartoon on it.

 RIP democracy: After editor, now Mumbai vendor arrested for selling paper with Hebdo cartoon

A man holds up a printout of a Charlie Hebdo cover page in Paris. AFP.

According to a Mid Day report, a vendor was for selling the January 17 issue of the Urdu daily Avadhnama, which carried a photo of the cover of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo with the controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohammed.

The police booked the vendor because the complaint said that the vendor understood Urdu, so he should not have sold the paper.

Mumbai police told Mid Day that they have registered the case against the vendor under Section 295 (Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) of the IPC.

Meanwhile, a Mumbai court on Wednesday extended the the bail of the Shirin Dalvi, the editor of Urdu daily, Avadhnama.

Dalvi was arrested by Mumbra Police on Wednesday and produced before a magistrate who granted her bail. "She was arrested on charges pertaining to hurting religious sentiments and related issues by reprinting a controversial cartoon of Prophet Mohammed," an police official said.

In its 17 January issue, the Mumbai edition of the Avadhnama had published the same cartoon which had resulted in the attack on the offices of 'Charlie Hebdo'. A local citizen, identified as Nusrat Ali complained to the Mumbra Police against the Urdu tabloid, contending that it hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslim community and could create hatred among communities.

Soon after the complaint in Thane and similar complaints in Mumbai by various individuals, the Mumbra police investigated the matter and arrested Dalvi. According to an Indian Express report, she now has six FIRs against her and lives in so much terror that she has been forced to wear a burqa at all times. She never wore the veil before this.

Dalai has apologised for publishing the cartoon, but the threats didn't stop. "Facing the community again has become a great concern for me as there is still a lot of unrest. I have avoided showing my face in Muslim-populated pockets. I have not gone back to my house (in Mumbra) since the protest started." She also says that she has been unable to meet her children, since the controversy broke out. Her kids are now staying with relatives.

On Wednesday, the All India Bakchod decided to pull down the video from YouTube after the Maharashtra police initiated an inquiry into a complaint against filmmaker Karan Johar, actor Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh, which alleged that the trio had used "filthy and abusive language" in the comedy show.

They also released the statement saying: We can live with abuse, hate, anger, fury, rage, ignorance, bigotry and perhaps even bullying. But we don’t want anybody to get hurt because of us. And we do mean anybody."

As Firstpost editor-in-chief R Jagannathan noted in this article, that intolerance is practiced mostly against the extremely vulnerable.

"Whether it is the beheading of western media persons by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or the massacre of defenceless women and children by Boko Haram in Nigeria, or the killings of school children in Peshawar by the Pakistani Taliban, or the stalling of films and books by militants claiming to represent the sentiments of varied religions , the power of intolerance is being projected and deliberately used largely against the weak," he writes.

Of course booking a newspaper vendor wasn't difficult at all.

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Updated Date: Feb 05, 2015 13:06:20 IST