Gujarat Police books lawyer Prashant Bhushan and former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan

The FIR against them was registered by a retired army personnel, Jaydev Joshi in Gujarat

Prashant Bhushan

An FIR has been filed against lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan and former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan for “hurting religious sentiments” and “commenting on government orders” respectively, reported The Wire.

On Sunday evening, an FIR had been registered at the Bhaktinagar police station by the Gujarat police upon the complaint of retired army jawan Jaydev Joshi in Rajkot. The details of the FIR have not been disclosed. The investigation in the matter has now been transferred to the Special Operations Group (SOG).

Gopinathan’s woes began when he shared a government letter that he had recently received asking him to join duty immediately in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. On April 9, he had tweeted the letter saying, “Received a letter from the govt, asking me to re-join duties as IAS. While I extend all my services, in health, wealth and mind to the govt in this fight against covid-19 pandemic, it will be as a free & responsible citizen and not anymore as an IAS officer.”



Three days later, on April 12, he tweeted saying that an FIR had been registered against him.



Speaking to The Wire, Kannan Gopinathan said, “I don’t even have the details of what the FIR is about. I’ve got information only from the media which says I’ve been booked for posting some government orders on social media to mislead people. I’ve no idea which order is the FIR about and whichever order be it, if government orders mislead people what could be done?”

“There has to be a basic verification before filing an FIR. It’s not that someone complains and the police immediately file an FIR. And it’s not just me, a journalist has also been booked. Does that mean people should not share government orders to put out their opinion on it?” he added saying that the conduct of the police reveals the priorities of the Modi government.

News editor Ashlin Mathew at National Herald has also been booked along with Gopinathan, allegedly for sharing the same government order. “During this time, when so much is happening in the country, just look at how the government is using its resources to look into stuff like this, even consider them, file an FIR, investigate and transfer it to SOG. Just imagine, the priorities of this government,” added Gopinathan.

He however said that the FIR would not deter or scare him from putting out his opinion. He said, “My writing on various actions the government is taking during COVID-19 would continue despite any of such acts. There is nothing that can stop it. It’s my freedom of expression and it is my duty to share whatever my opinion and suggestion with the public on what should be done and what should be avoided during this crisis.”

Questioning the move of the government he said that the a report in a Gujarati newspaper said that he had apparently retweeted Prashant Bhushan’s tweet, but he said it wasn’t true. He asked, “Even if I had retweeted that, how could it become a crime. How does it become a crime of I write something about the government order? How does it become a crime if I retweet something?”

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan has allegedly been booked for using objectionable language against Ramayana and Mahabharata. Rohit Rawal, the SOG’s investigating officer in the case said, “In his complain, Joshi accused Bhushan of misusing the word opium with Ramayana and Mahabharata in a tweet made on March 28 which has hurt the sentiments of many Hindu people.”

This was the tweet Bhushan had tweeted on March 28.



Rawal added, “On the basis of the complaint, we have registered a case against the trio 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. We are verifying the tweet. Further investigation is on.”


Irresponsible reportage, false hope spark migrant protest in Bandra

Plea in SC highlights plight of people in informal sector, seeks compensation scheme

Communalisation of a pandemic



Related Articles