Bhaktinagar police station of Rajkot city in Gujarat has registered an FIR against lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan for tweet against epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Along with Bhushan, the Gujarat police has also booked former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan and News Editor of National Herald Ashlin Mathew for "misinterpreting government orders".
In the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Doordarshan decided to re-telecast the epic serials Ramayana and Mahabharata. Cabinet Minister Prakash Javadekar posted a picture of him watching the show. However, the picture was later deleted. Slamming the Minister for ignoring the migrant labourers who were travelling miles on foot, Bhushan had tweeted, “As crores starve & walk hundreds of miles home due to forced lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming & feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people.”
Jaydev Bhai Joshi, a retired army captain, lodged a complaint against Bhushan for using the word opium with the epics.
Investigating officer Rohit Rawal said, "A complaint was submitted by a retired captain from the army identified as Jaydev Bhai Joshi, a native of Rajkot. In his complaint, Joshi accused Bhushan of using word opium with Ramayana and Mahabharata in a tweet made on March 28 which has hurt the sentiments of many Hindu people.”
Bhushan, Gopinathan and Mathew have been charged under Section 34 (criminal act done by several persons), 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or the religious beliefs), 505(1) (publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report which can cause fear and alarm amongst people) and Section 120 –B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, said the investigating officer. He added that they are verifying the tweet and that the further investigation is on.
Meanwhile, Kannan Gopinathan on Monday tweeted, "So Gujarat Police registered an FIR against me it seems. For misinterpreting Govt orders & allegedly RTing Prashant Bhushan. Nice try @AmitShah. You can arrest. But you won't silence. No one is afraid of you here. PS: Dear PM @narendramodi, your daily briefings will continue."