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Default Admin In Jail For Five Months Over Objectionable Message In WhatsApp Group

A 21-year-old group administrator of instant messaging service WhatsApp has been behind bars for the last five months, following an alleged objectionable message posted in the group by a member.

In February, the Talen police of Rajgarh district in Madhya Pradesh picked up Junaid Mev, who was the the default admin of a Whatsapp group, after some people took objection to an alleged anti-national message posted on the same group by another 17-year old boy. “Acting on the complaint, the police summoned the boy and the then group administrator, Raja Gurjar,” Talen police station in charge Narmada Prasad Dahima said today. “However, Gurjar left the WhatsApp group soon after. Two more members then became administrators as per the sequence of their membership, but they also quit the group subsequently.”

“Finally, Junaid Mev became the group administrator as per the policy of the social media platform,” a family member of Mev claimed.

On February 14, the police registered a case against the boy who had posted the objectionable message and Mev under various Indian Penal Code sections, including 124A (sedition) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class), and the Information Technology Act. Both were subsequently taken into custody, Dahima said.

The 17-year-old boy was sent to a remand home, while Mev is in jail since then.

Mev’s brother Mohammad Fakhruddin alleged that Mev was suffering due to the police’s laxity in conducting a proper investigation in the case. A second-year B.Sc student, Mev, who is also pursuing a course from the Industrial Training Institute, missed all his exams because of the alleged wrong confinement, his brother said.

As Mev was charged with sedition, he was unable to get bail even from the high court, Fakhruddin added. “Because of the police's laxity in the probe, an innocent person is behind bars.”

Fakhruddin said he will file a complaint in the matter with the officials concerned. Sarangpur's Sub-Divisional Officer of Police Prakash Mishra said the matter was pending in court and so far, nobody had complained to him about any wrong action by the police. In case a complaint was filed in the matter, the police would probe it, he added.