Jharkhand: Two Muslim men jailed for sharing objectionable messages on WhatsApp
Two Muslim men were arrested and sent to jail in Hazaribagh for sharing communally-sensitive messages on a WhatsApp group, in the first crackdown on those circulating provocative content on social media in Jharkhand, police said on Wednesday.
Hazaribagh superintendent of police Anup Birthare said Gulam Jelani and Mohammad Shabbir were charged for promoting enmity between different groups and deliberately and maliciously acting to outrage religious feelings and sent to the Hazaribagh Jail on Tuesday.
“We want this to be a lesson for those involved in spilling hatred and fuelling disharmony in the society by hurting religious sentiments of other communities,” Birthare said adding that both the men were 23 years old, and ran a business for which they had to frequently travel to Kolkata.
Hazaribagh is about 95km from state capital Ranchi.
Under the charges levelled at Jelani and Shabbir, they may face imprisonment of up to three years, police sources said. Jelani and Shabbir have also been charged under the information technology act.
Police have warned the administrator of the WhatsApp group on which Jelani and Shabbir shared the provocative content, and may detain them as well, sources said.
They have also launched a manhunt for a Hindu man, who allegedly shared provocative content on another WhatsApp group run in the same district.
Several places in Jharkhand have witnessed communal tension in the last one month with rumours on social media leading to communal clashes.
At least a dozen people were injured in clashes between two communities in Bargai on May 2 after a Hindu marriage procession was attacked by the members of the Muslim community. And in Sukurhutu, 12 km from Ranchi, over 24 people, including eight police officials, were injured in a clash between Hindus and Muslims after lewd remarks were allegedly passed at women.
The Ranchi district administration on Saturday issued a notification warning people of criminal charges and arrest if they were found guilty of sharing communal content on social media platforms.