Prashant Bhushan, Kannan Gopinathan booked by Gujarat police
Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan and former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Kannan Gopinathan booked were booked by Gujarat police over their social media posts on Sunday.
While Bhushan was charged for allegedly using objectionable tweet against the Ramayana, Kannan Gopinathan was booked for using government orders on social media to mislead people.
The first information report (FIR) was registered at Bhaktinagar police station of Rajkot city on Sunday evening. Later, the investigation was transferred to the special operations group (SOG).
“A complaint was submitted by a retired captain from the army identified as Jaydev Bhai Joshi, a native of Rajkot. In his complaint, Joshi accused Bhushan of using word opium with Ramayana and Mahabharata in a tweet made on March 28 which has hurt the sentiments of many Hindu people,” Rohit Rawal, a police inspector with SOG, said.
Rawal is also the investigating officer of the case.
“As crores starve & walk hundreds of miles home due to forced lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming & feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people,” Bhushan had tweeted on March 28.
The complainant also alleged that Gopinathan and Ashlin Mathew, the news editor of National Herald newspaper, tweeted government orders in a misleading manner which can lead to a disturbance of peace in society.
“On the basis of the complaint, we have registered a case against the trio under section 34 (criminal act done by several persons), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or the religious beliefs), 505(1) (publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report which can cause fear and alarm amongst people) and section 120 –B (criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code. We are verifying the tweet. Further investigation is on,” Rawal added.
Prashant Bhushan refused to comment.
Gopinathan had tweeted on Monday that Gujarat police registered an FIR against him for allegedly misinterpreting government order. “Nice try. You can arrest. But you won’t silence. No one is afraid of you here,” he said.
The former IAS officer was recently asked to join his duty immediately in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic but he said he will extend his “services in health, wealth and mind to the government in this fight against Covid-19 pandemic, it will be as a free and responsible citizen and not anymore as an IAS officer.”
Gopinathan had quit the service alleging “growing intolerance and curtailment of freedom of speech”.