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‘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.

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.”

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.

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.”

Also read: Living in Fear, Not Attending College: Mob in Bangalore Beats Kashmiri Youth WIth Iron Rods

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