Over the last couple of months, sending WhatsApp messages have landed many in trouble. This time, a man from Chennai was arrested for receiving an apparent 'anti-national' message.
Tadikala Akabar Saleem, 36, was arrested last week at the Chennai airport. Saleem had gone to pick up a friend who was arriving from Gulf but became a suspicion in the eyes of the cops when they saw him receiving 1.169 kgs of gold that his friend was carrying on a flight from Dubai to Chennai.
His phone was snatched by the custom officials to investigate whether he was abetting smuggling.
The airport police found a photo of a woman stomping on the Quran with her foot, and a few voice messages that Saleem was sent on a WhatsApp group.
One of the voice messages allegedly said, "We must assemble at Jantar Mantar to register our protest against people who disrespect the Quran." They immediately arrested Saleem.
The message was considered as "anti-national" and Saleem was booked under Section 124A of the IPC – sedition.
Later, the magistrate court said that there was no material evidence to prove any anti-national activity and therefore, Saleem was released.
However, police told India Today that it will continue to investigate as the case was "referred to by the customs department."
"You know, what they want to do is teach a lesson to other religions. That's what they are trying to say. Why do they want to assemble in a group? It is to go against the government. It is anti-national," a police official told The Wire.
This is not the first time someone has been arrested over a WhatsApp message. But this is probably the first time someone's been arrested not for sending, but receiving a message.
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