Days after some fringe organisations in Bhopal warned of a backlash if people behind an allegedly offensive social media post on goddess Kali were not arrested, the Bhopal police, in a joint operation with the Mumbai police, took two Muslim youths from Maharashtra’s Antop Hill into custody and brought them to Madhya Pradesh.
On May 10, several activists in Bhopal had approached the police demanding action against people who, they alleged, had liked an offensive post against goddess Kali on a Facebook group called Naadan Parinday. Some of the posts on the group were also critical of the Prime Minister, police said.
SP (north) Bhopal Arvind Saxena told The Indian Express that Ali Shaikh, who works as a bodyguard, and Abdul Qureshi, who runs an electronics shop, were arrested from Antop Hill and brought to Bhopal three days ago in connection with the case. Police had formed a Special Investigation Team in the wake of the complaints.
After a one-day police remand, the two men were sent to judicial custody. Police said one of them had created the image, while the other had circulated it. The two were booked under Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony).
Saxena said the issue was volatile and could have caused tension ahead of Ramzan, so police requested the organisations not to take to the streets.
Chandrashekhar Tiwari, a former Bajrang Dal leader and convener of the Sanskriti Bachao Manch, said, “All we wanted was action against those who posted such objectionable photos and messages. We do not want communal tension in the city.” He claimed a Muslim youth from Bhopal first liked the post, followed by several others, which drew the attention of the activists who approached several police stations. Eventually, FIRs were lodged at the Hanuman Ganj police station and with the state police cyber cell.
Written by Milind Ghatwai
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