The Mangaluru Cyber Crime Police have registered five different cases against people in the region for allegedly putting up posts on social media that “incite communal hatred”.
Police officials issued summons on Monday to multiple persons from Dakshina Kannada district stating that an FIR has been registered against them for inciting communal hatred. In two cases, police have booked the accused for sedition as well.
Among those accused are Mohammed Irfan AS, a resident of Azad Nagar in Bantwal. According to the Mangaluru North police, who registered the case against Mohammed Irfan, the accused allegedly created an image with inflammatory text on it.
“We tried implementing Ambedkar’s pen but the Sangh did not give in. Now, we will hold up Tipu’s sword,” the message read, according to Pradeep TR, a police officer attached to the station. Mohammed Irfan allegedly sent this image with the message on several WhatsApp groups. He has been booked under section 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 114 (abettor present when crime occurs), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
The police also registered three FIRs against the administrator of the Facebook group ‘Idu Namma Dhvani’. All three cases have been registered at the Mangaluru North police station.
According to Mangaluru Cyber Crime Inspector Girish, the administrator of the group, who remains unidentified, allegedly called the police and issued death threats. The person also allegedly allowed posts that called for violence against the police.
“In the post on Idu Namma Dhvani, there were messages that said, ‘We cannot tolerate this any longer. It is not a crime it seems to fire bullets at people and resort to lathi charge. Before the sanghi police take more lives, chase them and assault them’,” the FIR registered at Mangaluru North police station reads.
Another case has been registered against the administrator of the group and against a Mangaluru resident named Sahil Bedra. The police say that the accused allegedly allowed a post which said that members of the RSS had blended in with the police force and were resorting to lathi charge.
“‘They are sanghis without uniforms who hold lathis and have blended in to look like the police. If you see such sanghis come with the police, pelt stones at them’. These kinds of messages are inflammatory,” the FIR reads.
The admin and Sahil have been booked under sections 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 124A (sedition), 114 (abettor present when crime occurs), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
Anees BK and the administrator of Idu Namma Dhvani have been booked for allegedly threatening a police officer. Anees allegedly called for an assault on the police officer whose video had gone viral on December 20, a day after anti-CAA protests erupted in Mangaluru. The police officer could be heard saying, “We fired so many bullets and yet no one died”. Anees allegedly posted on the group, calling for assault against the said police official.
Anees and the admin have been booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 506 (criminal intimidation), 507 (criminal intimidation by anonymous message), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
Inspector Girish said that the police are on the look-out for the suspects and arrests would be made after questioning them. “We are currently trying to track them down. Once we do and interrogate them, we will arrest them,” he said.
Mangaluru Police Commissioner PS Harsha said that a team of cyber crime sleuths have been keeping an eye on those allegedly spreading messages to disturb peace. “Action against miscreants spreading communal hatred on social media underway in a major way. A dedicated team of cyber experts are keeping a hawk’s eye on anyone fomenting communal disharmony anywhere on the internet,” he tweeted.
Action against miscreants spreading communal hatred on social media underway in a major way.. A dedicated team of cyber experts are keeping a hawk's eye on anyone fomenting communal disharmony anywhere on the internet. https://t.co/DHkNfpSvht— Harsha IPS CP Mangaluru City (@compolmlr) December 29, 2019
The cases have been registered after 12 persons were arrested in connection with the protests that erupted in Mangaluru on December 19. Police had resorted to firing at protesters, killing two people. Police had also barged into Highland Hospital and thrown tear gas shells in the lobby and parking lot. They had also beaten people with lathis in the ICU.