A Muslim teen has alleged that he was picked up by the police in Uttar Pradesh and charged with hacking, following a status update he posted on a recent court ruling on rivers Ganga and Yamuna. Speaking at a press conference organised by the Bhim Army in New Delhi, 18-year-old Zakir Ali Tyagi said that in April this year, police arrested him and then tortured him in their custody on the basis of various unfounded allegations.
Tyagi's status message had read: "The Ganga has been declared a living entity; will criminal charges be initiated if someone drowns in it?" Telegraph reports that Tyagi had meant it as a wisecrack on a High Court ruling on Ganga and Yamuna, asking the rivers to be treated as persons with rights.
However, he was charged under Section 66 of the Information Technology Act which could lead to a jail term of three years and deals with 'hacking'. The Telegraph quotes the FIR accusing Tyagi of posting 'galat tareeke ke (wrong type of) comments" on Facebook.
The Telegraph spoke to Wasim Nadeeq Khan, who got Tyagi legal aid. He told them: "The police had initially registered the FIR under Section 66A, which prescribes three years' jail for offensive posts, unaware that the Supreme Court had struck it down as unconstitutional in March 2015. When they realised the mistake, they merely dropped the letter 'A'."
Tyagi was also booked under Section 420 of the IPC for having the picture of a police officer as his profile picture. The picture was of Akhtar Khan, a police officer killed on duty in Greater Noida, he had out the picture as a protest against his murder like people on Facebook tend to do.
Tyagi was let off almost after a month, following postponed bail hearings. In fact, once he was remanded in custody as the magistrate decided his was a 'serious' matter and he deserved to spend more time in jail.
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