Police on August 21 arrested a man from the Malad suburb of Mumbai for uploading a post on Prophet Muhammad on WhatsApp Status considered “derogatory” to an acquaintance who snitched against him to a lawyer.
The lawyer, Salim Choudhari, filed a complaint with the Dindoshi police on August 19 saying that he learnt about the “derogatory” status photos and a video—from an acquaintance. The police arrested the man, a real estate agent, and produced him before a magistrate’s court, which remanded him in police custody for two days.
The advocate also shared screenshots of the content in his complaint following which a first information report was filed by the police. The man was charged under Information Technology Act sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 67A (transmitting material containing sexually explicit acts).
Killings over social media posts on Prophet Muhammad
The arrest comes months after the death of at least two people over social media posts on Prophet Muhammad. Kanhaiya Lal, a Hindu tailor, was brutally hacked to death by Islamists for extending support to beleaguered former BJP leader Nupur Sharma. Sharma had been at the receiving end of Islamist wrath after Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair dog-whistled against her, setting off an ugly chain of events as Islamists ran riot shouting ‘Sar Tan Se Juda’ chants against Nupur Sharma and those supporting her.
After killing the tailor, the murderers shared a video boasting how they had killed Kanhaiya Lal, brandishing their knives and declaring that they would kill PM Narendra Modi in a similar manner. Kanhaiya Lal had been receiving threats of murder from Islamists for days because of a social media post that was shared accidentally by his minor son. He was also arrested by the police. Despite reporting to the police that his life is under threat, he was not given protection. Hours after the gruesome incident, the murderers were arrested from Rajasamand district.
Similarly, in Maharashtra’s Amravati, a man named Umesh Kolhe became a victim of violence for supporting Nupur Sharma over her comments on Prophet Muhammad in a TV news debate. Significantly, Kolhe was killed after one of his good friends, Yusuf Khan, had instigated Islamists against him.
Umesh Kolhe’s friend Yusuf Khan had spotted Kolhe’s WhatsApp message supporting Nupur Sharma and had circulated it in other WhatsApp groups. He had also informed about it to Sheikh Irfan Khan, who runs an NGO. Irfan Khan then plotted the murder and gave the responsibility of recce to Maulana Mudassir Ahmed alias Sonu Raza Sheikh Ibrahim. After that, Irfan Khan engaged four daily wage workers Shahrukh Pathan, Abdul Taufiq, Shoaib Khan and Atib Rashid, who had worked for his NGO earlier, for the execution of the plan.
On the night of June 21, Shoaib stabbed Umesh Kolhe in his neck. Initially, the police had said that this was a robbery gone wrong, but after there was a change in the government in Maharashtra, the police admitted that Kohle was killed for supporting Nupur Sharma.