Airport authorities in Chennai level sedition Charges on a Muslim based on whatsapp message.
A person who went to Chennai international airport to receive his friend arriving from a Gulf country was slapped with sedition charges and detained by the Airport police for a ‘random’ whatsapp message he received that was adjudged to be ‘anti national’.
According to the details given by the Chennai airport police Tadikala Akbar Saleem who hails from Andhra Pradesh was detained and taken into custody by the air intelligence unit(AIU) of the Customs department, which is under the Union Home Ministry. The event took place on Saturday July 15. The Air intelligence unit filed a FIR on Sunday and forwarded a copy to the Airport police.
Customs authorities arrested the friend of Saleem who landed at the airport carrying excess gold than allowed under the customs law. Airport officials probed Saleem’s Mobile phone in the investigation that followed and found whatsapp messages that where ‘anti-national’ by their observations.
The supposed anti-national whatsapp audio message transcript was a call for Muslims to gather at Delhi’s Janthar Mantar to “demonstrate strength”. As per the reports in The Indian Express: There were no specific time frame that was mentioned for the proposed gathering at the designated place. An official told the newspaper the request was made in the name of “Maulana (Syed) Asad Madani saheb” of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, a leading Islamic Authority head quartered in Malaysia. The officer quoted from the message to have made an appeal “It’s [the] first opportunity we are getting a chance to show the power of Muslims.”
Saleem on 17/06/2017 was produced before the sessions court magistrate. “His statement was recorded and Saleem was absolved of any misconduct and freed. The Judge observed there was no material evidence to prove an anti-national activity with random WhatsApp message. Also, there was no call for violence,” Saleem then traveled back to his village in Kadappa, Andra Pradesh after he was freed.