The Mumbai police have registered a first information report after journalist Rana Ayyub filed a complaint after she received rape and death threats online.
An officer of the Mumbai Police said an offence was registered on Friday against four Twitter users and two Instagram users, reported the Hindustan Times.
Rashmi Karandikar, Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Cyber Cell, said on January 31 that Ayyub had received obscene comments and death threats, according to the report.
Based on Ayyub’s police complaint, a first information report was filed under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to sexual harassment, death threats, defamation and outraging the modesty of women, and under the Information Technology Act for identity theft and publishing or transmitting obscene material.
The police have sought information from service providers on the suspected Twitter and Instagram users, according to the Hindustan Times. The police are also investigating if the suspects similarly targeted other journalists or individuals on social media.
Ayyub on Monday posted on Twitter that an FIR had been filed. “Hope the accused are brought to book soon,” she wrote on Twitter.
On January 25, Ayyub had posted a screenshot of her name trending on Twitter and said that most of the nearly 26,000 tweets, were abusive and directed rape and death threats at her. Ayyub said most the abuse was by right-wing Indian users and Saudi nationalists for her tweets criticising the air strike on Yemen.
The next day, a Twitter user claiming to be an Indian news organisation posted a link to a YouTube video and claimed that Saudi Arabia had “banned Rana Ayyub”, said The Hindustan Times. Ayyub later said the portal used a photoshopped tweet of her to claim that she hates India and all Indians. Responding to her, the portal claimed it had presented authentic news and facts.
The YouTube video is being investigated, The Hindustan Times quoted Mumbai police sources as saying.
Cases against her
Ayyub has been outspoken in her criticism of the Indian government.
In September last year, a first information report was filed against Ayyub in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad city for her fundraising campaigns for Covid-19 and flood relief work in Assam, Bihar and Maharashtra. A Hindutva group named Hindu IT Cell had filed the complaint against Ayyub.
The group alleged that Ayyub had illegally collected money through an online platform “in the name of charity”. The complaint also alleged that the journalist had received foreign funds without the government’s approval.
In June, another police case had been registered against the journalist for sharing a video on social media of an attack on an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad.