Sunday, December 10, 2023

Mosque imam arrested in Porbandar for disagreements about saluting national flag, singing anthem

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The Gujarat Police on Saturday arrested a mosque imam in Porbandar for an audio clip circulated on social media where he allegedly said disagreements about saluting the national flag and singing the national anthem.

Wasid Raza, an imam at Nagina Masjid in Porbandar, was arrested after a first information report (FIR) was filed against him at Kirtimandir police station based on a complaint filed by Azim Kadri, a resident of Porbandar who runs a restaurant in the city, according to Neelam Goswami, DySP, Porbandar.

Raza was part of a WhatsApp group called Bahar-e-Shariat, where he was one of the admins. The members of the group would pose questions about various topics related to religion and Raza would answer them.

“On January 25 and 26, two individuals raised queries—one regarding whether Muslims should hoist the national flag and, if so, whether they should salute it. To this the Maulvi replied that they can unfurl the flag but should not salute it. The second question was whether they can sing the national anthem or not. To this the cleric replied in an audio clip that Muslims should not sing the Indian National Anthem due to words like ‘Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’ and ‘Jay He Jay He’. These audio clips were circulated on social media on Friday and was received by the complainant,” Hindustan Times quotes DySP Goswami as saying.

He has been booked under sections 153, 153A, 153B (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505 1 (b,c) (cause fear or alarm to public, promote enmity between one class or community against another) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act – 1971 Section 2 (showing disrespect to or brings into contempt, whether through spoken or written words, or through actions, the Indian National Flag or the Constitution of India) and Section 3 (for preventing the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causing disturbance to any assembly engaged in such singing).

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