India

Gujarat arrests seven for sharing hate messages

Gujarat arrests seven for sharing hate messages
They have been booked under Section 505 of the IPC (statements conducing to public mischief). (Representational Image)

Seven persons have been arrested across Gujarat for circulating a message on social media that cited the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi — which has emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot — to call for social and economic boycott of the minority community.

They have been booked under Section 505 of the IPC (statements conducing to public mischief).

Three more persons have been booked, but haven’t been arrested so far. Police said the accused were residents of Navsari, Jamnagar, Amreli, Anand and Kutch districts.

In Amreli, Riken Singhav, a 27-year-old employee of a private firm, was arrested. “The accused has been booked under IPC Section 505 for public mischief, as well as under the Disaster Management Act,” said Nirlipt Rai, SP, Amreli.

In Navsari, the accused have been identified as Umakant Rathod (50) and Ratilal Patel (70). Police said both had shared the message on different WhatsApp groups.

S G Rana, Deputy SP, Navsari, said: “Umakant works as a diamond polisher, Ratilal is not employed.” Both were released on bail on Friday.

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The others who have been arrested are: Paras Vala (39), a driver, and Jayanti Giri (51), a businessman, in Jamnagar; Nirav Barwadi (30), a private firm employee in Anand, and Hareshsinh (42) in Kutch.

On Thursday, the Ahmedabad Police Special Branch, in a letter to police stations in the city, had warned about a hate message being circulated on WhatsApp regarding the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, and asked police to take all steps to prevent any untoward incident.

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Saying that an inquiry had been launched, Ahmedabad City Police Commissioner Ashish Bhatia said “action will be taken against the persons who circulated the message.”

Gujarat DGP Shivanand Jha said action was being taken against those spreading rumours on WhatsApp and trying to disrupt social harmony.