A state lawmaker in India was arrested for criticising the prime minister, Narendra Modi, in a tweet, officials have said, raising concerns over freedom of speech in the world’s largest democracy.
Jignesh Mevani, a prominent campaigner for India’s marginalised low-caste Dalit community, accused the Hindu nationalist leader of idolising Nathuram Godse, the assassin of India’s independence icon Mahatma Gandhi.
Some fringes of the Indian rightwing revere Godse as a hero for killing the man they blame for the partition of India and Pakistan – comments that Modi has criticised in the past.
But Mevani tweeted this week that Modi “worships and considers Godse as God”, accusing the prime minister of fomenting religious division.
He also demanded that Modi apologise for communal violence in Gujarat, where Mevani is a member of the state legislature.