In a bid to avoid communal unrest and spreading of fake news, Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and Senior Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari jointly issued a new order on Friday, holding WhatsApp and Facebook group admins accountable for such messages shared on social media platforms. A day after the order was signed, a report revealed that an 18-year-old was arrested for sharing objectionable message on WhatsApp.
Anuj Kumar Gupta, who runs an untensils' shop in Varanasi's Badi Bazar area, was arrested by the police and a case has been book under IPC section 295A for outraging religious feelings. Jai Shayam Shukla of Lohta police station said that action was taken after a complaint was filed against Gupta on Friday night.
According to a report by Indian Express, the WhatsApp message that landed Gupta in jail had objectionable content about Prophet Mohammed.
According to Shukla's statement, Gupta has been sent to jail after being produced before a magistrate. In his defense, Gupta said that he'd received the message from a resident of Lucknow, Deepak Mishra. The police will also be checking Mishra's number and action will be taken against him as well.
The police are tracking the chain of the message to discover the number where the message was first generated.
This is not the only arrest made that originated from a message shared on WhatsApp. There have been several arrests in the past, one busting a group of four for sharing objectionable video, another one involving over 30 suspects across Europe and Latin America after they used WhatsApp chat to distribute child porn.
It is too soon to anticipate the proceedings of Gupta's case in Varanasi, but we'll update more information when available to us.