Ratan Lal, an associate professor at Delhi University’s Hindu College, was arrested on Friday night for posting an offensive social media post alleging a ‘Shivling’ found inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi, police said. An FIR was lodged against Lal last Tuesday following a complaint by a lawyer named Binit Jindal. In his complaint, Jindal claimed that the alleged tweet on ‘Shivling’ was “insulting, provocative and provocative”.
Lal was arrested under Cyber Police Station, North 153A (Section 153A (promoting hatred between different groups on the basis of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) and doing harmful work to maintain harmony) and 295A (intentionally). The act of insulting the religious feelings of a class by insulting religion).
Ratan Lal’s lawyer Mehmud Pracha said that the arrest of Lal was a case of police brutality. “False charges have been filed against him (Professor Ratan Lal). The FIR and the allegation do not mention anything which can be termed as a cognizable offense. Nonetheless, arrests cannot be made under IPC 153A and 295A, the police do not have that power, ”Pracha told reporters.
“This arrest is also a contempt of court order and a violation of Section 3 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Torture) Act. We will prove his innocence.” There should be more protests, “added Pracha.
In his defense, Lal said that as a historian he was entitled to his opinion and that he had used “very careful language” in his post. “In India, if you talk about anything, it will hurt the feelings of others. So this is nothing new. I am a historian and have made several observations. I wrote them, I used very careful language in my post and still do it. I will protect myself, ”said Lal.
Shortly after his arrest, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh tweeted in support of Lal, saying he was exercising his fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. “I strongly condemn the arrest of Professor Ratan Lal. He has a constitutional right to express his views and opinions, “he tweeted.
(With input from PTI)