The Delhi Police has registered a first information report (FIR) against an assistant professor of Delhi University’s Hindu College for his allegedly objectionable social media referring to the claims of a Shivling being discovered at the Gyanvapi Mosque, the police said on Wednesday.
Assistant professor of history Ratan Lal allegedly tweeted a photo of the structure with objectionable comments on Tuesday, the police said adding that the FIR was registered
on a complaint filed by Delhi-based lawyer Vineet Jindal.
In his complaint, Jindal alleged that Lal’s "derogatory, inciting and provocative tweet on the Shivling is instigating and provoking", news agency PTI reported. The “discovery of the Shivling” inside the mosque complex is very sensitive in nature and the matter is pending before the court, he said in his complaint.
Deputy commissioner of police (North) Sagar Singh Kalsi told the PTI that a complaint was received on Tuesday night against Lal regarding a “deliberate and malicious post intended to outrage feelings by insulting a religion and religious beliefs”.
“A case under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered,” Kalsi added.
When contacted, the associate professor of History claimed he was facing and is being constantly attacked on the social media following his post and sought protection from the government.
After his post went viral, Lal posted a video saying he was being threatened online and asked for police security. He told The Indian Express, “I have not yet received any notice from the police. But if I do, I will cooperate with them. I was not expecting threats and abuses for this statement. There is a long tradition of critique in Hinduism from Phule, Ravidas and Ambedkar.”
Defending himself, Lal said, “I haven’t even critiqued it; it is just an observation. In our country, religious feelings get hurt over anything. What should people do? Bandage their mouths?”
Criticising the adverse reaction to his post, Lal told the PTI, “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. I will defend myself.”
Lal has also “written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to provide two bodyguards carrying AK-56s as he is “facing death threats” and being attacked on social media.