FIRs against activist Teesta Setalvad over tweet

August 24, 2014 11:28 am | Updated 11:28 am IST - Ahmedabad

The Gujarat police on Saturday registered FIRs at various stations by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) members against activist Mumbai-based Teesta Setalvad for her post of an objectionable image of a Hindu religious deity on social networking sites.

VHP member Raju Patel complained at the Ghatlodia police station in Ahmedabad that Ms. Setalvad had hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus by tampering with the photograph of a goddess and posting it as her profile update on the messaging service WhatsApp.

An FIR was registered under section 153 (a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) and 295 (a) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code; and section 65 (tampering with computer source documents), 66 (a) and 66 (b) pertaining to hacking with computer system and 67 (information which is obscene in electronic form) of the Information Technology (IT) Act.

In Bhavnagar district, a similar FIR was registered at the C Division police station under the same sections. VHP leader Kirit Mistry complained that Ms. Setalvad posted a photograph on the social networking site Twitter, which associated a Hindu goddess with terrorism, thereby hurting religious sentiments.

The Gomtipur police station in Ahmedabad also received a complaint against the activist and they are in the process of registering an FIR.

In a press statement issued on Friday, Ms. Setalvad had apologised for the “inadvertent tweet.”

“I am traveling and was in a mad rush this morning preparing for a Memorial Lecture I was invited to deliver this afternoon in Kolkata. On receiving [a] friend's message, I took a quick glance at the illustration depicting the ISIS’ gruesome beheading of the American journalist. Looking at the visual as a whole, I did think the illustration needed reworking as it may be interpreted differently by different people. However, in the mad rush that I was in, I tweeted the same with my caption, ‘Chilling’.

“The moment I realised that the illustration had created a controversy and had hurt many people, I deleted the tweet and tweeted an immediate apology for having inadvertently hurt their feelings.

“While reiterating my commitment to work for communal harmony, conflict resolution and peace building, I once again offer my sincere apologies for inadvertently hurting religious sentiments,” Ms. Setalvad said.

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