Madhya Pradesh student remains in jail for 5 months for ‘seditious’ WhatsApp message by member

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In what would be deemed as a crazy decision by police in Madhya Pradesh, a 21-year-old WhatsApp group admin has had to live in jail since February this year and skip his crucial exams because of an ‘anti-national’ message posted by a group member.

WhatsApp

In February, a 17-year-old member had posted a ‘seditious’ message in the WhatsApp group, whose administrator was one Raja Gurjar. Talen police station in-charge in Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, Narmada Prasad Dahima, said that some people took strong objection to the 17-year-old boy’s post and filed a police complaint.

“Acting on the complaint, police summoned the boy and the then group administrator, Raja Gurjar,” Dahima was quoted by the PTI. However, Raja Gurjar left the WhatsApp group soon after. Two more members also became administrators after Gurjar left according to the sequence of their membership, but they also quit the group subsequently.

“Finally, Junaid Mev became the group administrator as per the policy of the social media platform,” a family member said. Police then pounced on Junaid and booked him under various sections of the Indian Penal Coded including 124A (sedition) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class), and the Information Technology Act. The cops took both of them into custody, but while the boy who posted the controversial comments was sent to remand home because of his status as a minor, Junaid has had to languish in jail since February.

Junaid’s brother Mohammad Fakhruddin said that since the cops had booked him under the sedition charge, the family had struggled in getting a bail even from the high court. The wrongful confinement of Junaid for someone else’s post has ruined his education as he was forced to miss all his Industrial Training Institute (ITI) exams. A second year B. Sc student, Junaid is desperately waiting for justice, but the local cops don’t even acknowledge that an innocent student has been forced to spend five months in jail for someone else’s crime.

Sarangpur’s Sub-Divisional Officer of Police Prakash Mishra told PTI that the matter was pending in court and so far, nobody had complained to him about any wrong action by the police.

In case a complaint was filed in the matter, the police would probe it, he added.

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