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RTI activist says what he posted was satire, police book him for abetting rape

An RTI activist’s Facebook post ‘Padmavati award after rape’ has landed him in trouble. Police in another district lodged an FIR against him for abetting commission of rape

bhopal Updated: Nov 29, 2017 19:58 IST
Ranjan, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
RTI activist,Facebook,police
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Files

An RTI activist’s Facebook post ‘Padmavati award after rape’ has landed him in trouble. Police in another district lodged an FIR against him for abetting commission of rape.

Now, the RTI activist Jinendra Surana from Neemuch, about 425 kilometers north east of Bhopal, is seeking legal opinion from lawyers while evading arrest from police.

Jinendra in his FB post commented a few days ‘MP me rape karwavo aur Padmavati award pao: Sarkar ki nai ghoshna (Get raped in Madhya Pradesh to get Padmavati award: Govt’s new announcement)’.

Finding his post offensive Khargone police lodged an FIR against him under sections 376/117, 292, 505 (2) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 67 (A) of Information Technology Act. Section 117 in the context of section 376 means abetting commission of rape by more than ten persons. If charges are proved against him under IPC sections he may face jail up to three years or fine or both. If he faces conviction under IT act he will undergo a jail term up to 5 years and fine up to Rs 10 lakh.

While announcing a ban on the film on Rani Padmavati on November 20 chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said a ‘Rashtramata Padmavati award’ would be given to those working in the field of women’s empowerment. Later, in reply to a question from journalists if the Bhopal gang rape victim could be given the award home minister Bhupendra Singh said she definitely deserved an award for her bravery but it remained to be seen which of the awards should be given to her.

Interestingly, Surana in his conversation with the HT alleged a personal grudge of a DIG ranked police officer over his FB post was what led to lodging of the FIR against him.

“My FB post was a satire based on a piece of news in a Hindi newspaper which is published from Neemuch and in a neighbouring district in Rajasthan. The DIG reacted to my post angrily. The FIR being filed not in my home district Neemuch but in Khargone which falls under the jurisdiction of the DIG is a glaring example of how police acted in an arbitrary manner”, said Surana.

Mahesh Patidar, the counsel for Surana said the police action was blatantly violative of the principal of freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution of India. If such arbitrary action was allowed to be taken nobody could express his opinion freely. Also, Supreme Court had repealed the section 67 (A) of IT Act. They would challenge this in the court of law.

However, talking to the Hindustan Times superintendent of police Khargone D Kalyan Chakraborty said police had received a complaint as the FB post was seen by people in Khargone also.

“We are investigating the matter. We will question the accused regarding his post”, he added.

(With input from Yadvendra Singh from Khargone)

First Published: Nov 29, 2017 19:58 IST