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Bengaluru engineering student detained for ‘sharing’ app content

The app was hosted on US-based GitHub on December 31. Doctored photos of at least 100 Muslim women, along with lewd remarks and comments, were posted online.

Sources said the student was detained from Bengaluru, and brought to Mumbai. He is likely to be arrested. (Representational)

A 21-year-old engineering student from Bengaluru has been detained by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch’s cyber police station personnel for allegedly using his Twitter handle to “share derogatory content” from the app which hosted doctored photographs and objectionable comments targeting Muslim women.

Sources said the student was detained from Bengaluru, and brought to Mumbai. He is likely to be arrested.

“The 21-year-old is a second year civil engineering student. He used his Twitter handle to share derogatory content from the app. We have detained him,” said a senior IPS officer. The officer said the student was traced through the IP address of the Twitter accounts that were used to upload the photographs. He has not been arrested yet.

Asked if the student was also suspected to be involved in developing the app or was part of a larger group, the officer said: “We will be questioning him about all this.”

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Based on a complaint filed by one of the women targeted by the app, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch’s cyber police station (west) had lodged an FIR on January 1 against unknown persons who developed the app and some Twitter handles that disseminated its content, under IPC Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 153 (B) (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 295(A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings), 354 D (stalking), 509 (insulting modesty) and 500 (defamation), and Section 67 (transmitting obscene content in electronic form) of the IT Act.

The app was hosted on US-based GitHub on December 31. Doctored photos of at least 100 Muslim women, along with lewd remarks and comments, were posted online.

The Indian Computer Emergency Response System (Cert-In), the nodal agency for monitoring cyber security incidents and related threats, has been asked to form “a high level committee” to probe the incident, and to co-ordinate with the cyber cells of state police forces.

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Late on Saturday night, Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw had tweeted that GitHub had blocked the user, and Cert-In and police were “co-coordinating further action”. On Sunday, in a separate tweet, Vaishnaw said that the government was “working with police organisations in Delhi and Mumbai on this matter”.

On Sunday, separate FIRs were registered in the case by police in Delhi and Mumbai. In her complaint to police, a Delhi-based journalist accused unknown persons of promoting enmity, sexual harassment, and insulting women.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi had amplified the women’s complaints on social media. Maharashtra Minister of State for Home (Urban) Satej Patil took up the issue with the state’s cyber police department.

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On Monday night, Patil tweeted, “Mumbai Police has got a breakthrough. Though we cannot disclose the details at this moment as it may hamper the ongoing investigation, I would like to assure all the victims that we are proactively chasing the culprits & they will face the law very soon.”

First published on: 04-01-2022 at 01:16 IST
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