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‘No part of his speech questioned the beliefs of Muslims’: Madras HC quashes FIR filed against Maridhas over old video on Tablighi Jamaat

Justice GR Swaminathan said that Maridhas had just raised concerns about the congregation's "irresponsible behaviour."

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has quashed the latest FIR filed against Tamil Youtuber Maridhas over an old video where he was seen criticising Tablighi Jamaat. The FIR against the journalist was registered by the Melapalayam police in Tirunelveli based on a complaint filed by an office-bearer of Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam for his YouTube post linking Tablighi Jamaat members spreading coronavirus. The FIR was filed on 4th August 2020.

During the hearing, Justice GR Swaminathan said the YouTuber had made the video presentation during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and that “no part of his speech questioned the beliefs of Muslims,” reports The Hindu.

The judge further observed that Maridhas had just raised concerns about the congregation’s “irresponsible behaviour.” The judge believed that a close examination of the presentation would reveal that he was disturbed by the incident. He urged those in attendance to get tested for COVID-19 at hospitals.

The judge dismissed the FIR filed against petitioner Maridhas, stating that harsh criticism of an organisation does not invoke the provisions.

On December 17, the YouTuber was booked under sections 292(A) (publishing grossly indecent or scurrilous matter or matter intended for blackmail), 295(A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 505(ii) (statement creating or promoting enmity or ill-will between classes) of the IPC and 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act.

Interestingly, while the state of Tamil Nadu has arrested journalist Maridhas for speaking against Tablighi Jamaat, the group is already banned in Saudi Arabia, the capital of Islam. Calling it a dangerous organisation and the “gate of terrorism”, Saudi Arabia had recently warned clerics, Imams and Muslims against affiliating with this group.

It may be noted that prior to this on December 14, the Madras High Court had quashed another FIR registered by the Madurai city cybercrime Police against YouTuber Maridhas over a tweet after the IAF Chopper crash in which former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Late General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others lost their lives.  after the IAF Chopper crash in which former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Late General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others lost their lives.

In the order, Justice GR Swaminathan had said that the offences mentioned in the FIR were not made in the tweet.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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