Mumbai: Cops withdraw cyber terror case against Ghatkopar student
After second- year civil engineering student from Ghatkopar, Sunny Gupta, spent 45 days in jail for sharing aFacebook post on 'Why Hindus shouldn't visit Ajmer Sharif dargah' cops quietly withdraw draconian Section 66 (F) of IT Act
"I never imagined that one Facebook post would result in the police arresting me for cyber terrorism," said Sunny Gupta, 24. A cyber terrorism offence calls for life imprisonment — way too harsh a charge and punishment for a Facebook post. Following mid-day's report on the matter, cops removed the cyber terrorism section from the FIR. By then, the college student had already spent one-and-a-half months in jail.
mid-day had reported last month, how Sunny, a college student from Ghatkopar, was arrested on trumped up charges of cyber terrorism, among other offences, for a Facebook post about why Hindus should refrain from visiting the Ajmer Sharif dargah. Speaking to mid-day, Sunny said, "I did not come up with any of the things mentioned in the post; the same content is already available on the Internet. How could the police accuse me of cyber terrorism for posting about something that others were also talking about on the Internet?"
"I will accept any punishment for my wrongs, but won't accept being called a terrorist. Now, I will think twice before posting on social media again. In the future, the police should also think twice before imposing such charges on anybody," he added. According to Sunny and his family, though, mid-day's coverage of the matter caught the police's attention, prompting them to withdraw the charge (Section 66 F of the Information Technology Act) from the FIR.
Sunny Gupta says his only support system right now is his mother Surajkali and brother Guru
"We are really thankful to mid-day for publishing this story. The police have removed this section and we are now safe. It was very unfair on the part of the police to book him under this section. His intention was not to spread disharmony in society. This case has spoiled his career," said his brother, Guru. While relieved, Sunny has been left scarred by the ordeal. "I am relieved the police removed have the cyber terrorism section, but am shocked that they did not check the facts before arresting me. If they had, I would not have been in jail for so long," said the youth.
'Can't ever forget it'
He recalled, "The day the police arrested me, I was totally unaware of the charges. While I was in jail, my elder brother told me that they had booked me under some terrorist act. I was completely shattered upon hearing this. I was ill for around 10 days. I wasn't able to eat or sleep. I used to cry all day and night. I could not imagine facing my parents, friends or neighbours with this tag of a terrorist hanging over my head.
"I was lodged among criminals in Thane jail. I was terrified that they would harm me, as I had seen criminals do with new prisoners in Bollywood movies. I never spoke to anyone in prison out of fear. I had never experienced anything like this; I will never be able to forget this nightmare."
'Can't face my friends'
A month has passed since his release, but Sunny is still finding it hard to shake off the shame of the 'terrorist' tag. "My whole life is completely ruined. I used to be very jovial earlier, but this case took away every joy of life. Now I have no friends; I am too ashamed to face them. I have not met any of them since getting out of jail. I only step out of the house to help my brother with his work," said the 24-year-old.
The second-year civil engineering now intends to continue with his college course next year. Meanwhile, the police are yet to file a chargesheet in the case, which was booked under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between communities), 295A (outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code.
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe