A 21-year-old man in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain city was booked under the stringent National Security Act for posting an allegedly “pro-Pakistan” photo on his social media account, PTI reported on Tuesday. Under the Act, authorities can detain a person for up to 12 months without a charge.

Sahil Lalla was arrested after a complaint by a Bajrang Dal leader, the police said. His arrest came two hours after he put up a photo on his Instagram page where he was wearing a T-shirt with the Pakistani flag and the word “Jordan” on it.

“District convener of Bajrang Dal, Pintu Kaushal, had lodged a complaint about the matter with the Chimanganj police,” said Ujjain Superintendent of Police Satyendra Shukla. “Acting on that complaint, police arrested Sahil Lalla and recommended invoking the NSA against him.”

Lalla was also booked on charges of trying to disturb communal harmony and posing law and order problems.

On Sunday, the Ujjain district administration invoked the National Security Act against four people for allegedly shouting “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans during an event on August 19. Ten people have been arrested so far in the case.

National Security Act

The National Security Act allows the Central or state government to order the detention of a person “with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India, the relations with foreign powers, or the security of India”.

It may also order detention to prevent them from acting in any manner prejudicial “to the security of the State”, the “maintenance of public order” or the “maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community”. The police and district magistrates have the power to issue detention orders, subject to approval by the state government within 12 days.

Rights bodies in India have criticised the National Security Act for vaguely worded charges, procedures that subvert the due processes of law, provisions that require courts to draw “adverse inferences” against the accused, lack of mechanisms to prevent arbitrary or discriminatory detention, and sweeping immunities for government officials.