21-year-old Junaid Khan has been behind bars for the last five months over an alleged objectionable message forwarded by somebody else on the instant messaging service.
In February, Junaid, a second-year BSc student and a resident of Talen town in Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh, was taken into custody by local police after an alleged anti-national message was posted on a WhatsApp group, where he was the default admin. On 14 February, he was booked under IT Act and Section 124 A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code, as reported by
Became admin by default
It all began when the original administrator of the WhatsApp group, identified as ‘Irfan’ had posted a message. Some locals took objection to it and filed a complaint at the Talen Police station. Subsequently, a case was filed against Irfan and the ‘admin’.
According to Junaid’s family, the original administrator left the WhatsApp group after the objectionable forward, and Junaid ended up as the default admin. “Junaid was a member of the group, but not the admin. When the matter came to light, he was in Ratlam on family work. It was then that the admin left the group and another member became an admin by default. However, he too quit. Junaid became group admin by default. However, he was not the admin when the post was originally shared,” Farukh Khan, Junaid’s cousin told The Times of India.
Farukh also added that his cousin could not sit for his examinations as the court did not grant him bail because he had been booked under sedition.
Meanwhile, the police have been justifying their action based on the evidence they had at that time. “Junaid’s family members did not say this when he was arrested. Now, after the challan has been put up in court, they say he was the ‘default admin’. If they have any evidence, they should produce it in court. Irfan, too, was arrested and when the matter came to our cognisance, Junaid was the admin of the group. There was no evidence or any other way to ascertain at that time who was the admin of the group when Irfan shared the post. We filed the challan by the evidence available with us,” Pachore Poice Station-in-charge, Yuvaraj Singh Chouhan told