Malad, Malwani, Kandivali tense over Facebook post on Prophet

Tension prevailed in Malad, Malwani and Kandivali on Tuesday night and Wednesday after a Kandivali (West) shopkeeper lodged a police complaint against derogatory remarks on Prophet Mohammed on social-networking site Facebook.

As news traveled, residents of Muslim-dominated localities demanded arrest of those behind the post. A mob of 200-300 staged a rasta roko near Jama Masjid at Malwani in Malad (West) Wednesday afternoon. Police said the protest began at 3 pm and went on for an hour.

Malad and Charkop residents also gathered in large numbers outside the police stations in the areas to lodge complaints. They also forced shops to shut down.

Malwani, Malad and Kandivali police were pressed into service to calm the protestors. By Wednesday evening, the situation was under control.

"We told the protestors Kandivali Police had registered a case and applied appropriate sections. They were also told the case had been transferred to the cyber crime branch, which calmed them," said an officer from Malwani police station.

Nazimuddin Rafiq Ahmed Khan, an iron dealer who stays at Laljipada in Kandivali (West), was sitting with his friend Ayub who was checking his mail and Facebook account.

"Ayub was going through his Facebook account when he came across the post on the profile of a Jaipur resident by a fake user and 'liked' by others. After reading the abusive and perverted words, I went to police and lodged a complaint," said Khan.

Kandivali police officers said they registered a complaint under sections 295 (a) (hurting religious sentiments), 153 (a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) and under IT Act sections 66 (a) (sending offensive or false messages) and 67 (publishing information which is obscene).

"The case has been transferred to the cyber crime police station in Bandra-Kurla Complex," said H Pimple, senior Kandivali police inspector.

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