Mumbai: Student spends 45 days in police custody over Facebook post for ‘defamatory remarks’ against Dargahs

Sunny Gupta, an engineering student was released from the jail on Friday after he had spent nearly 45 days for writing a Facebook post allegedly asking Hindus to refrain from visiting Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Sunny Gupta was jailed by the Mumbai Police for ‘cyber terrorism’ and trying to create religious disharmony.

According to the reports, on August 31, a local businessman Zarul Khan complained to the Mumbai Police in Ghatkopar regarding the details of Sunny’s post, stating that Sunny’s writing on Facebook is not healthy for the society and could create tensions between two communities. Khan also said that Sunny’s post also had certain defamatory remarks against Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti and Prithviraj Chauhan. He further added that his post may create a divide between two communities.

The Mumbai Police soon after receiving the complaint on August 31, arrested Sunny Gupta and put him behind the bars, and was released on October 12, after spending close to one and a half months in jail.

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The police officials had booked Sunny under sections 153 (A) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 295 (A) (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code and 66 (F) (cyber terrorism) of the Information Technology Act.

The Mumbai police justified their action and said that they’ve acted in accordance with the law. Sudhir Nigudkar, a Senior inspector of Ghatkopar police station said, “Whatever action has been taken in the case is as per the law.”

However, Sunny’s elder brother Gauri Prasad refuted the allegations and said that the police acted in a very unfair manner in this case. “How did they book my brother under the [cyber] terrorism act? His intention was not to spread bitterness in society”. He further said that the arrest of his brother on certain charges has spoiled his brother’s career. “However, we have faith in the judiciary”, said Gauri Prasad.

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