An associate professor with Delhi University was arrested last night over a social media post referring to claims about a ‘Shivling’ found inside Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque complex, police said.
Police said Ratan Lal, who works with Hindu College, was arrested by officers of north Delhi’s Cyber Police Station. He is accused of promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion and committing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.
The FIR against Mr Lal was registered Tuesday night following a police complaint by a Delhi-based lawyer. In his complaint, advocate Vineet Jindal said Mr Lal had recently shared a “derogatory, inciting and provocative tweet on the Shivling”.
The statement made by Mr Lal on his Twitter account is “instigating and provoking”, he said in the complaint.
The issue is very sensitive in nature and is pending before the court, the lawyer said in his complaint.
Defending his post earlier, Mr Lal had said, “In India, if you speak about anything, someone or the other’s sentiment will be hurt. So this is nothing new. I am a historian and have made several observations. As I wrote them down, I have used very guarded language in my post and still this. I will defend myself.”
Congress leader Digivijaya Singh has condemned the professor’s arrest.
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) May 21, 2022
“I strongly condemn Prof Ratn Lal’s arrest. He has the Constitutional Right of opinion and expression,” he tweeted.
(With inputs from agencies)