Since all other crimes have been solved in Chennai, time to arrest people for WhatsApp messages.

Stopping sedition one WhatsApp message at a time Chennai police arrest Andhra man
news Sedition Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 13:17

A 36-year-old man from Andhra, who was waiting to receive his friend at the Chennai airport, was in for a surprise, when police swooped on him and arrested the unsuspecting man on charges of sedition.

His crime? Some ‘anti-national’ messages that were found on his WhatsApp.

Tadikala Akbar Saleem, who hails from Kadappa in Andhra Pradesh, had gone to the Chennai International Airport on Saturday to receive his friend from the Gulf.

The air intelligence unit of the Customs department first nabbed his friend for carrying excess gold and later took Saleem into custody, The Times of India reported.

The intelligence team, which later transferred the case to the airport police, reportedly found an audio message on Saleem's phone in his WhatsApp. The message allegedly urged Muslims to gather in Jantar Mantar in New Delhi for a protest.

"We caught one Khadar Basha who arrived on Saturday from Dubai and was found smuggling 1.149 kg of gold. Based on the information given by him, we caught Saleem, who was waiting outside the airport to collect gold from Basha," a source in the Air Intelligence Unit told The New Indian Express.

The police registered an FIR under Section 124 (A) of the IPC which deals with sedition and produced him before a magistrate on Monday.

The Indian Express reported that there were no calls for violence, neither was there any scheduled date for the protest mentioned in the message found on Saleem's phone.

"His statement was taken and Saleem was released. The magistrate said there was no material evidence to prove an anti-national activity in that random WhatsApp message. Also, there was no call for violence," an officer told IE.

(In case you didn't get it, the headline and blurb were meant to be sarcastic).

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