What probably started as “fun” or “entertainment” for five evidently jobless men has landed them in jail. The Sreekandapuram police in Kannur have arrested five people for sending and spreading fake and abusive messages and pictures on WhatsApp about newly-wed Juby Joseph and her husband Anoop Sebastian.
Vincent Muttathil, Premanandhan, Rajesh PK, Shyju PV and Surendran A have been identified as the accused. An officer at the Sreekandapuram police station told TNM, “They started releasing pictures of the couple’s wedding on WhatsApp. We are yet to identify who among them started the forward. The preliminary investigation is yet to begin.”
A message started circulating when a photo of the couple’s engagement appeared in the matrimonial column of a Malayalam newspaper. The forward read: “Woman’s age 48… Man’s age 25… Woman’s asset worth Rs 25 crore… Dowry 101 sovereigns Rs 50 lakh… The rest will follow… A marriage that happened in our own Cherupuzha.”
However, Juby is only 27 years old and Anoop is 29 years old.
Since then, the couple, who got married on February 4, has been receiving abusive and mean messages, especially targetted towards Juby, who was also body-shamed in the process. They even received a few fake calls. Following this, Juby and Anoop filed a complaint with the police three days ago.
“The couple submitted screenshots of the messages they received on their various social media platforms as evidence. Based on this, we worked with the cyber cell department and were able to nab the five on Saturday,” the Investigating Officer in the case told TNM.
Anoop's father, however, told TNM that both the families don't know the accused personally.
The five accused have been booked under Section 499 (Defamation), Section 500 (Punishment for Defamation) and Section 509 (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code.
They have also been booked under Section 120 (o) of the Kerala Police Act, 2011, which states that if any person causes, through any means of communication, a nuisance to any person by repeated or undesirable or anonymous call, letter, writing, message, e-mail or through a messenger, he shall be imprisoned for upto one year or fined upto Rs 5,000 or both.
However, the investigating officer said that the five have been released on bail.