by: house4blog |Chennai|
It’s not just sending a message that may land you in trouble nowadays. Even receiving a message on WhatsApp makes you vulnerable. Tadikala Akabar Saleem was last week arrested at the Chennai airport where he had gone to pick up a friend who was arriving from Gulf because cops found an audio message in his phone that they deemed anti-national.
On Monday, although, 36-year-old Saleem was released after a magistrate in Chennai told cops that a random message on a phone was no sign of any anti-national activities and didn’t warrant someone booked for charges of sedition.
Saleem was booked by Chennai airport cops for sedition over a voice message that he received on WhatsApp. The message was considered as “anti-national” and an FIR was filed against Saleem on Saturday.
“Saleem was waiting outside the airport to receive his friend arriving from the Gulf and was taken in custody after his friend was found carrying excess gold on arrival,” a report in the Indian Express noted. Although, during the investigation and questioning the airport authorities didn’t find any wrongdoing on the part of Saleem, they did chance upon a random audio message that Saleem had received on his WhatsApp. After that they referred the case to the airport police, which booked Saleem after claiming that the message was anti-national.
After his release on the directives of the court Saleem has reportedly returned to his village near Chennai though the police says it would continue to investigate as the case was “referred to by the customs department.”
The WhatsApp message, recorded in Urdu, was reportedly an appeal to all Muslims to assemble at Jantar Mantar for some protest. The alleged anti-national audio message, however, did not specify any time or date for the said protest.
This is not the first time someone has landed in jail, albeit only for a day or two, over some WhatsApp message. Although this is first time someone in India has been held just because there was message received on the phone. In case you find the absurdity of such decision by cops hard to ascertain remember that you cannot stop someone from sending you a message on the WhatsApp once the sender has your number. You can only block the sender after receiving first message. This is the reason why nowadays people have so many spam messages in their smartphones.
Earlier, though people have landed in trouble for sharing messages on WhatsApp. Also, in April, the district magistrate and senior superintendent of Varanasi in a joint order had said that any fake or incorrect news shared on any social media group could lead to an FIR filed against the group admins.