A 21-year-old man in Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district has been in jail since February for being the “default admin” of a WhatsApp group from which an objectionable message was forwarded, The Times of India reported on Monday.
Junaid Khan, a BSc student, was arrested on February 14 and booked under the IT Act and Section 124 A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code. Khan’s family has alleged that the objectionable message was sent by the original admin of the group just before exiting it.
“Junaid was a member of the group, but not the admin,” Junaid Khan’s cousin Farukh Khan told News18. “The admin left the group and Junaid became admin by default. He was not the admin when the post was originally shared,” Farukh Khan said.
Farukh Khan said Junaid Khan couldn’t write his examination as a court had denied him bail since he was arrested on charges of sedition. “We approached senior police officers and complained with the CM helpline but to no avail,” Farukh Khan said.
Police, however, said Khan was the administrator when the case was brought to their notice. “Junaid’s family members did not say this when he was arrested,” Yuvraj Singh Chouhan, who is in charge of Pachore police station, told The Times of India. “Now, after the challan has been put up in court, they say he was the ‘default admin’. Irfan, too, was arrested, and when the matter came to our cognisance, Junaid was the admin of the group,” he said.
Chouhan said there was no way to ascertain who was the admin of the group when the forward was posted and the challan was filed in the court based on the evidence available with police.
Rajgarh Superintendent of Police Simala Prasad said officials were investigating if other people were also admins of the group. “The family hasn’t told us that Junaid had become default admin,” Rather, they have complained that some other people were also admins of the group at that time.”
Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Thursday announced that it will test a forwarding limit on all texts and media that are shared to curb the spread of fake news and misinformation in India.