Former IPS officer detained: Indian government muzzling dissent?

Many have questioned if the arrest had something do with Bhatt’s political views.

Dubai: Is the Indian government trying to muzzle any voice of dissent? Many Indian social media users seem to think so.

Former IPS (Indian Police Service) officer Sanjiv Bhatt was detained on Wednesday by the Gujarat CID (Crime Investigation Department) in connection with a 22-year-old case of arrest of a man for alleged possession of drugs.

News agency Asia News Internation (@ANI) tweeted: “Dismissed IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has been detained by CID (Crime) of Gujarat in connection with Palanpur drug planting case of 1998. Probe underway after HC (High Court) orders. Interrogation of Sanjiv Bhatt and seven others underway. Two more former police officers also involved.”

Bhatt is known to use Twitter to openly oppose India’s Prime Minister (PM), Narendra Modi and his political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Many have questioned if the arrest had something do with Bhatt’s political views.

@SarkarSupriyo tweeted: “So if u oppose the PM, govt. will dig out old cases and arrest you. And then, there is NO Undeclared emergency!”

His detainment followed the recent arrests of five prominent Indian activists. #BhimaKoregaon petitioners asserted that the arrests were a tactic to muzzle dissent against pro-Hindutva outfits in the country, after which India’s Supreme Court ordered last week that the activists should be kept under house arrest and not in police custody.

@girish_phonde added: “… [Indian] government is afraid of these dissent voices and the only solution they have is, kill or jail them.”

Bhatt’s arrest comes a day after student and writer, Lois Sophia, was released on bail, after being arrested on Monday for shouting anti-BJP slogans on a plane. Sophia’s arrest had begun the hashtag #FascistBJPDownDown. Bhatt’s arrest kept the hashtag alive with Twitter users highlighting how the Modi government could not cope with criticism.

Twitter user @shahidjk_ wrote: “Raise your voice or be ready for your turn next time. Yesterday it was human rights activists, today it’s Sanjiv Bhatt and tomorrow it will be me or you. This fascist government will not let anyone speak against them. Fascist government down down. Release #SanjivBhatt.”

@ashoswai added: “Anyone who raises the voice against Modi’s fascist regime will be silenced before the next election. Today, it is Sanjiv Bhatt’s turn. Remember, when they will come for you, there will be no one left to speak for you.”

And, @rebuild_kerala tweeted: “Them fascists are all set to silence the ones voicing the bitter truth.”

Many said that dissent was necessary for a democracy.

@tterIndia tweeted: “Dissent is the foundation of democracy. We have a constitution, which allows us to criticise the bogus policies of the government and raise slogans against them peacefully. #Remember No political party or politicians are bigger than our India and constitution. Also fascist party down down!”


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