'Offensive' WhatsApp display image of PM Modi lands school principal in trouble
Hailakandi (Assam), June 29: A school principal was arrested in Assam's Hailakandi district for using "offensive" images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as his Whatsapp display picture.
Police took Abdul Hamid Barbhuiya (58) into custody after Bidhan Chanda, a block-level BJP leader, lodged a complaint, reported HT. The accused has reportedly blamed his "fidgety" 11-year-old son, a student at a madrassa in Assam's Hojai district, for tampering with the display picture.
Police said Barbhuiya's WhatsApp account had two profile pictures. While one was the photograph of a chained dog with Modi's face morphed onto it (captioned 'dutiful dog'), the other showed a man with the Prime Minister's face milking a canine.
Though Barbhuiya is the principal in-charge of the government-run Janakicharan higher secondary school in Hailakandi district, he resides at Katigorah in Cachar district. "We are not sure if he is telling the truth (about his son fiddling with the display picture), but the Jio number is registered in his name. A case under Section 66-A (b) of the IT Act, read with Section 120(B) of the IPC, has been registered against him," Hailakandi superintendent of police Pranab Jyoti Goswami told HT.
Assam director general of police Mukesh Sahay said posting the morphed photographs may be deemed as an offense if done with criminal intent. "Any intention to defame a person holding high public office or show him in a bad light may amount to an offense. An investigation will reveal who is circulating the photos, with what purpose, and whether he is doing it knowingly or unknowingly," he added.
The Congress labelled Barbhuiya's arrest as "yet another instance of the BJP brand of intolerance" and a result of the Modi government's "much-vaunted information technology revolution".
"Detractors lampooned Congress stalwarts - from Indira to Sonia and Rahul - when we were in power, but there was no witch-hunt. By arresting this teacher, the BJP has only proved that it is intolerant," said Congress spokesman Apurba Bhattacharya.
But BJP leaders contested their claim, recalling how police had targeted a local resident before the 2016 polls for posting a morphed image of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Facebook. The photograph showed a child with Gogoi's face urinating.