Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell officials arrested a 53-year-old man in Vadodara on late Thursday for allegedly editing a confidential letter of Ahmedabad Police and propagating hate speech on social media, in connection with Tablighi Jamaat members and the spread of COVID-19.
The accused has been identified as Rajesh Sarang (53), a resident of Pranav society in Manjalpur of Vadodara. He renders computer repair services from his residence.
On April 1, a purported confidential letter from the special branch of Ahmedabad Police had emerged on social media — which in actuality was meant to warn police stations of a hate message — that stated, “2,500 Tablighi Jamaat workers had attended the Nizamuddin Markaz event in Delhi and have been confirmed positive for Coronavirus and the workers have entered various states of India to spread the disease which is a terror act. All Hindu brothers are requested not to buy an fruit or vegetable from Muslim vendors in their respective areas as they might be infected (sic).”
According to officials of the Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell, the accused had morphed the letter of the special branch and made it seem that Ahmedabad Police was circulating hate speech against a minority community.
After the letter was circulated on social media, Ahmedabad City Police Commissioner Ashish Bhatia had said at a press conference that an investigation was launched to nab the accused, who had circulated the hate message via the contents of the confidential letter.
“The accused had first posted the hate speech verbatim on one of his Facebook stories on his profile on April 3. Then later, on April 5, he had posted a Facebook update where he had edited the content of the confidential letter. The subject line had stated ‘No one should buy anything from people of a community.’ The accused had morphed the letter which made it seem that the special branch was circulating the hate speech through (its) official channels,” noted an official statement of the Ahmedabad Cyber Crime Cell.
The accused has been arrested under Indian Penal Code sections 143, 505 (1) and 505 (2) for provocation of rioting and public mischief, along with sections of the Disaster Management Act
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