Woman held for calling India ruling BJP 'fascist'

Sofia Lois Image copyright Facebook
Image caption The arrest of Sofia Lois has prompted outrage

A woman has been arrested in the southern state of Tamil Nadu for calling India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) "fascist".

Sofia Lois made the remark when she saw BJP politician Tamilisai Soundararajan, who then filed a police complaint.

The incident occurred on Monday at an airport in the state and a video of the two women arguing soon went viral.

Ms Lois was released on bail on Tuesday.

Her lawyer told BBC Tamil that she was asked to apologise. When Ms Lois refused, Ms Soundararajan filed a complaint against her for causing hurt and inconvenience.

Ms Soundararajan told The Indian Express newspaper that she felt "threatened" by Ms Lois.

"No innocent girl will use that word. I questioned her. She replied that she has the right to freedom of expression. She shouted 'down with BJP's fascist government' and raised her fist. I thought I shouldn't ignore a terrorist and filed a petition," she is quoted as saying.

A student in Canada, Ms Lois was visiting her family in Tamil Nadu. She and her parents had taken a flight from capital Chennai (formerly Madras) to Tuticorin city. The altercation occurred after they arrived at the Tuticorin airport.

"After we landed, Sofia saw the BJP leader and said 'fascist BJP government down, down'. She didn't utter a word other than that," Ms Lois's father told local media.

The arrest has prompted outrage online and many have condemned it on Twitter.

According to local reports, Ms Lois had initially been sent to judicial custody for 15 days.

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