After facing severe criticism from former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju for its move to arrest people posting offensive content against the TDP on social media, the Andhra government defended itself on Thursday.
This comes after Katju wrote a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the state's move to arrest two people who posted objectionable content on Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and his son, Nara Lokesh.
Katju even went to the extent of demanding that the present state government be dismissed, and 'President's Rule' be imposed in the state.
Claiming that Naidu's government was “unconstitutional, autocratic, and undemocratic", he asked if he would also be arrested for posting the same content.
Speaking to media persons at the Interim Government Complex at Velagapudi, the state government's Communications Advisor, Parakala Prabhakar, said, "Justice Katju has the habit of making controversial statements and then retracting. Does posting of obscene photographs and making derogatory comments constitute freedom of speech? What would Katju do if the women in his house were targeted? Would he just ignore it saying it is freedom of speech?"
"After knowing the facts (in Ravi Kiran's case), we hope he will withdraw his remarks (against the government)," he added.
This comes after the Andhra government has been cracking down on people posting 'objectionable' content on social media, against the state's ruling TDP.
On Wednesday, the Visakhapatnam police picked up a Bengaluru-based software professional, Ippala Ravindra, after he allegedly posted some objectionable comments against Payakaraopeta MLA V Anitha.
Reports stated that Ravindra was apprehended under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, and not under the IT Act, as the legislator is also a Dalit.
Many people claimed that Ravindra was on the YSRCP's payroll, as his page was filled with material that supported the party and YS Jagan. However, the party denied the allegations.
This arrest also came one week after the Andhra police arrested political satirist Ravi Kiran, after the same MLA filed a complaint against a 'defamatory' post on his Facebook page.
Ravi Kiran runs a Facebook page called 'Political Punch', which has more than 1 lakh followers, and is popular among critics of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Many people have pointed out that several posts on the Facebook page 'Political Punch', were insensitive, and in bad taste.
Katju even posted one of the images on his Facebook page, that was highly critical of Naidu.
However, Ravi Kiran claimed that he was being targeted by the TDP government, because he was criticising them.
Shud President's rule under Article 356 be imposed in A.P. for flouting Article 19(1)(a) of Constitution by arresting cartoonist Ravi Kiran?— Markandey Katju (@mkatju) May 17, 2017