‘Does NewsCentral Have A Legal Advisor?’: Bengaluru DCP’s Answer When Asked About Threatening Innocent Citizens With Lies
DCP Abdul Ahad threatened a Kashmiri journalist on Twitter and falsely claimed that public discussion of cases under investigation is an ‘offence’.
On March 20, a group of four men beat up a Kashmiri student in Bengaluru. Fahad Shah, a Kashmiri journalist, the editor of The Kashmir Walla magazine, tweeted about the incident on March 24.
Shah’s tweet, which was nothing more than the facts and a quote from the assaulted youth, however, found itself under attack from an unlikely source. Abdul Ahad, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Whitefield Division, Bengaluru responded to Shah with an open threat.
Mr Fahad Shah Ur discussing a subject of investigation in public domain which is an offence,4 culprits have been arrested and 107 CrPC proceedings on…Ur warned against this illegal behaviour.
— M N Anucheth IPS (@dcpwhitefield) March 24, 2019
Ahad wrote, “Mr Fahad Shah, you are discussing a subject of investigation in public domain which is an offence. Four culprits have been arrested and 107 CrPC proceedings on. You are warned against this illegal behaviour.”
U will be asked to explain…u can give Ur clarification to the investigating officer..as a law abiding citizen IAM sure u will explain Ur stand to the satisfaction of investigating officer…and make sure that Ur not instigating people….it's a serious offence
— M N Anucheth IPS (@dcpwhitefield) March 24, 2019
Ahad, however, did not elaborate on what exactly was the “illegal behaviour”. In fact, when Shah countered him saying that he had presented no opinions and that all he had tweeted was already in public domain, Ahad said, “You will be asked to explain. You can give your clarification to the investigating officer. As a law-abiding citizen, I am sure you will explain your stand to the satisfaction of investigating officer, and make sure that you are not instigating people. It’s a serious offence.”
NewsCentral24x7 got in touch with Deputy Commissioner Ahad, asking him about the exchange. When asked under what law was Shah’s tweet or a discussion of a news item an offence, Ahad said, “Angle is different,” adding, “Motive for assault is neither his religion nor the region from where he comes.”
Ahad also told NewsCentral24x7, “We have arrested four accused persons. According to their statement, he (the Kashmiri youth) misbehaved with the girlfriend of one of them on the18th (of March). They warned him. Again, on 19th (of March), he misbehaved and (a) fight took place. However, we are investigating that angle. The girl has not given complaint citing opposition from parents.”
Ahad added, “I had to give this clarification because some miscreants are trying to make it a communal/regional issue.”
He further said, “I have replied and warned people spreading hatred without knowing facts.”
In all of this, the Deputy Commissioner had not only avoided the original question but he also thinly accused a Kashmiri journalist who was reporting news of “spreading hatred”. When NewsCentral24x7 asked once again under what law was discussing a public case an offence, Ahad asked, “Does NewsCentral (have) a legal advisor?”
Many journalists and lawyers expressed their shock at the Deputy Commissioner’s callous tweets.
What is illegal behaviour? Tweeting an incident that happened? https://t.co/I7w51Rn710
— vijaita singh (@vijaita) March 25, 2019
Dear @CPBlr, is such intimidation by law enforcement officers in Bengaluru permitted? @pzfahad did nothing wrong but was unlawfully threatened with criminal proceedings by your officer for asking legitimate questions. Will you be taking any action in this matter? https://t.co/tpOlcXrBYG
— Chitranshul (@Ghair_Kanooni) March 25, 2019
Can you please as a learned IPS tell us under what provision of law is a person not permitted to discuss a subject of investigation in public domain?
Are you suggesting that you have the power of contempt or are you merely threatening a victim? Carefully answer these questions. https://t.co/3KBpQaCKaA
— बुकरात वकील (انس) (@Vakeel_Sb) March 25, 2019
Mr Ahad, please enlighten the public, and ignorant lawyers like me, about the provision of CrPC where if someone is posting a news, he/she is liable to be prosecuted under criminal law.
Thanks in advance. https://t.co/el4nr1cT18
— Dushyant K. Mahant (@DKMahant) March 25, 2019
Whitefield DCP says "discussing a subject of investigation is an offence." Is there a new penal code that is yet to be published or something? https://t.co/DAJKNtUkvq
— Apurva Vishwanath (@apurva_hv) March 25, 2019
Since when discussing an ongoing 'investigation' became an 'Offence' and under what Proviso of which Section of IPC/CrPC ??
However the law which is studied, clearly suggests that 'intimidation' surely is an offence under IPC, no Mr IPS?? Don't do it in public at least. https://t.co/A4uBGzlr2F
— Rahul Kumar (@attorneyrahulk) March 25, 2019
How is it illegal? Under which law ? https://t.co/XEvYDzDHDy
— Anupam Bordoloi (@asomputra) March 25, 2019
On March 20, 24-year-old Absar Zahoor Dhar, an engineering student and a model, was beaten with iron rods by a group of youths at AECS Layout, near HAL, in southeast Bengaluru. The men who were arrested for assault were granted bail the same day. Dhar told Deccan Herald, “I am living in fear and not attending college as the assailants roam free in front of my house as if nothing has happened.”