Going against all rules, police in Rampur (UP) have arrested and sent to the district jail a class 11 student of a reputed public school in Bareilly for uploading what they called an ‘objectionable’ post against Samajwadi Party strongman and the state’s urban development minister Azam Khan.
Khan’s media in-charge Fasahat Ali also lodged an FIR against the boy. Later, in a court which sent the student to 14 days in judicial remand, his family members said that he had merely shared the post on Facebook and not uploaded it.
According to the police, the boy, whose exact age could not be immediately ascertained, was picked up from his house on Monday evening and kept in police lock-up at the Ganj Kotwali thana.
Dinesh Kumar Sharma, SHO, Ganj Kotwali, said, “The Facebook post carried derogatory language against a community and was wrongly attributed to Azam Khan.”
On Tuesday, the boy was presented before the court of additional chief judicial magistrate which sent him to the district jail.
According to police officials, the student has been booked under section 66-A of the Information Technology Act and sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc.), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (public mischief) of the IPC.
The student’s father told : “Police kept us in the dark. On Monday evening they raided our house and took away our son, saying that he had uploaded some objectionable post on the social networking site against Azam Khan. They also told us that he will be released only after being produced before the minister in Rampur.”
Earlier, on March 5, on a complaint by Ali, Khan’s self-styled ‘media in-charge’, the district police had lodged an FIR against Varanasi tourism officer Ravinder Kumar Mishra for uploading “objectionable pictures” of UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Khan on WhatsApp and other social networking sites. He was booked under similar sections.
In 2013, Dalit writer and social activist Kanwal Bharti was similarly arrested by Rampur police for a Facebook post against Khan. Bharti, too, was booked under section 66-A of the Information Technology Act.