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Gujarat: Muslim cleric detained after audio clip ‘insulting’ national flag goes viral

Porbandar: Police on Saturday detained a Muslim cleric in Porbandar city of Gujarat after an audio clip in which he allegedly insulted the national flag went viral on social media, an official said Saturday.

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The accused, identified as Wasid Raza, was detained by the Kirtimandir police here after a first information report (FIR) was registered against him on Friday, Superintendent of Police (SP) Bhagirathsinh Jadeja said.
He was booked on the charge of insulting the national flag and promoting enmity among groups, he said.

“In January this year, the accused, who is a Maulvi of Nagina Masjid in Porbandar, was asked in his WhatsApp group whether Muslims should unfurl and salute the national flag and sing the national anthem,” Jadeja said.

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“In his reply given in an audio format, he said that people from the Muslim community can unfurl the national flag but not salute it. On whether Muslims should sing the national anthem, he said they should not do so because of certain words used in the anthem,” the police officer said.

The cleric is an admin of the WhatsApp group called Bahar-e-Shariat, wherein he was asked his opinion on the national flag and national anthem. An audio clip of the same formed the basis of the FIR registered at the Kirtimandir police station, Jadeja said.

He was booked under sections 153, 153A, 153B (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505 and 505A (circulate statement, rumour, to promote enmity) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, he said.

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