WhatsApp forward lands 21-year-old 'default' group admin in jail: Report

A 21-year-old has been in jail after an “objectionable” message was sent on group he was admin of.

There is no winning against social media! After noticing that a lot of WhatsApp forwards that are sent out in groups or individual chats may be the reason for the spread of misinformation, the onus of what information was shared in group chats, at least, was seen with the administrators of these groups. However, in certain cases, as it seems, this onus may be miscalculated as well.

According to a report by Times of India, Junaid Khan, a 21-year-old BSc student from Rajgarh, Madhya Pradesh, has been in jail since the past five months for an “objectionable” message that was sent on a group he was a part of. Khan was arrested for being the administrator of the group, but his family argues that he was not even the admin of the group originally.

WhatsApp representative illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

WhatsApp representative illustration. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

The said “objectionable” message was apparently sent by a user named Irfan, who was also the admin, but he later exited the chat, which made Junaid the group admin by default.

The 21-year-old has been in jail since 14 February and was booked under the IT Act and IPC Section 124 A for sedition.

Now, the cops say that they arrested Khan on the basis of the evidence that he was the admin of the group, when a complaint was registered against the forward message that came from the group.

Junaid’s cousin Farukh Khan says that the 21-year-old was unable to write his exam because he was denied a bail due to being booked for sedition. His cousin says that they approached senior cops and the chief minister’s helpline, but did not hear back from anyone.

Simultaneously, the police officer who was originally investigating the case, reportedly said, “Junaid’s family members did not say this when he was arrested. Now, after the challan has been put up in court, they say he was the ‘default admin’. If they have any evidence, they should produce it in court. Irfan, too, was arrested and when the matter came to our cognisance, Junaid was the admin of the group."

According to the police officer, there was no way to ascertain who was the group admin when the forward was shared by Irfan. "We filed the challan on the basis of the evidence available with us,” said the officer.

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