Leftist Leader Among 103 Booked in UP for Social Media Posts on Ayodhya Verdict

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A mob of Hindu zealots surrounds Babri Masjid in Ayodhya which was demolished on December 6, 1992. — File photo

Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily

LUCKNOW — The Uttar Pradesh police have booked over 103 people for social media posts and messages across the state, alleging inflammatory content, in the context of the Ayodhya Verdict on Saturday last. CPI-ML New Democracy leader Shamshad Hussain said that cases were filed against them for simply commenting on the Supreme Court verdict.

“At least 72 cases were lodged against individuals posting ‘objectionable’ content across social media platforms and 103 people were arrested,” Director General of Police (DGP) OP Singh was quoted by The Times of India as saying.  Shamshad, who is the CPI-ML ND leader in Bijnor, told Caravan Daily that he only forwarded a press release of his party on the Ayodhya verdict which was critical of the judgement.

“They filed an FIR against me. The statement was not mine, but released by the central committee of the party. The press release was sent to all state chiefs, and the state chief sent this to me. I forwarded it to the people in my district. The police said I made objectionable comment on the judgment. This is not true,” said Shamshad.

Shamshad said the police removed the mention of CPI-ML ND from the statement and made it my personal comment, in order to file a case against me after seeing my Muslim name. This is a political conspiracy against me. My family is being harassed on this now. I was charged under Section 153A of the IPC and the IT Act 66.

State chief of the CPI-MLND, Ashish Mittal, confirmed to Caravan Daily that the said statement was a press release of the party which he sent to the people. He shared with Caravan Daily the press release critical of the Supreme Court verdict. The party called it an attack on Secularism.

“The judgement … will strengthen the communal forces which align only Hinduism to India, not Islam. It rewards those who committed illegal activities and the majoritarian side. It was not only about a 2.77 acre land dispute but about rule of law and secularism,” read the press release shared by Shamshad.

When Caravan Daily contacted the Bijnor police, SP Sanjeev Tyagi’s PRO Arvind Kumar said the police will look into the matter and probe it. Three other Muslim youths also said they were booked for criticising the Supreme Court verdict. Mudabbir Ali Choudhry, who was booked by the UP police for a facebook post said he was surprised a case was filed against him. He only pleaded for filing of a review petition on the judgement.

“This was something that was stated by several people. Around midnight, the SSP office messaged me saying that this post could impact communal harmony and asked me to delete it. I did so immediately. Yet, they took action against me,” he was quoted by the news portal Twocircle.net as saying.

Asif Idrees, who was also booked over a comment, said that in a facebook post, he called the judgement a threat to the secular democratic fabric. “Someone reported about my post to the cops, and even before I received the message from the police, it was taken down by facebook. What did I say which has not been said by other eminent people? From academicians to legal experts, many people have questioned the verdict. Then, why take action against the students,” asked Idrees.

On Saturday, the Supreme Court in a unanimous judgement ruled in favour of building a temple at the site where the Babri Masjid once stood and gave alternative land to Muslims to build a mosque.

The judgement was criticised by many experts including former Supreme Court judges Markandey Katju and AK Ganguly.

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