‘This Is Not Democracy’: Students React to Lois Sofia’s Arrest

Even though Sofia got bail after her fascist-BJP slogan, the initial order outraged students across the nation.

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Lois Sofia, a 28-year-old student was arrested by the Tamil Nadu police on Monday, 3 September, and sent to judicial custody for 15 days, for shouting slogans against the Modi government on a flight, in the presence of Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president, Tamilisai Soundararajan.

While Sofia was later let out on bail, the initial order outraged students across the country.

‘Is There Democracy Still Left in India?’

Students from different universities across the nation condemned Sofia’s arrest and criticised the government for trying to suppress voices of dissent.

One of the students, Rituparno Das from Guwahati University said, “I don't think we are really living in a democratic country”.

I want to ask Modi ji if there’s still democracy left in our country or not? Whoever speaks against you in the Opposition is termed anti-national and if students speak against you then they are expelled.
Ravi Dangi, Barkatullah University, Bhopal

Akin to Activists’ Arrests in Bhima Koregaon Case

Some students even drew parallels between the incident and the arrests of five activists who allegedly triggered violence in Bhima Koregaon.

We have been witnessing the way the central government has been treating the difference of opinion in our country. We are living in a democratic setup and not in a dictatorship...I consider this a continuation of what happened in Mumbai. People were branded as ‘Urban Maoists’ and those who shared a difference of opinion were arrested. 
Arun Kumar R, University of Kerala

Is Voicing Dissent a Crime?

Who said it is a crime to call the BJP government fascist? Whatever the BJP government is doing ever since they came to power is a replication of the fascist government during the World War II in Germany and Italy. We know that the BJP government has a populist agenda- they are with the majority so that they can dominate the minority. 
Saurav Pritam Gogoi, Guwahati University

While Many Support Sofia's Case, Others Say She Was at Fault

While a number of students slammed the government for its ‘undemocratic’ way of dealing with dissent, there were others who held a different opinion.

Many opined that Sofia’s behaviour was inappropriate and what others claim to be the freedom of speech, is in fact a violation of an individual’s space, even if the person belongs to a political party.

You can criticise the government. You can voice your opinion. But there are ways of doing it. Screaming it out in the middle of a flight or at an airport is not the way of saying whatever you have to say.
Neha Ranjan, Bengaluru

We Are Scared, Say Students

Students said that they were afraid of expressing their opinion in public.

“As a student I am really scared that if I ever criticise the government, then they might term me ‘anti-national’. They can end my career and might put me in jail”, Saurav Pritam Gogoi, a student of Guwahati University told The Quint.

I think not just as a student, but as an individual staying in this country I am scared, to be honest.
Maneshvita Mahanta, Guwahati University

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