Delhi University Professor Arrested For Social Media Post On Varanasi’s Gyanvapi Mosque

According to police, a history professor at Delhi University’s Hindu College was arrested last night after a social media post appeared to cast doubt on claims of a ‘Shivling’ located inside Varanasi’s Gyanvapi mosque complex.

Ratan Lal, an assistant professor, was arrested by the police from the Cyber Police Station in north Delhi. He is accused of inciting religious hatred amongst groups and performing “acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony.”

Mr Lal appeared in court this afternoon, and his lawyer filed a motion for bail.

Following a police complaint from a Delhi-based lawyer, a FIR was filed against Mr. Lal on Tuesday night. According to advocate Vineet Jindal’s complaint, Mr. Lal recently tweeted a “derogatory, inciting, and provocative tweet on the Shivling.”

According to the lawyer who filed the case, Mr Lal’s tweet is “instigating and provoking” He stated that the matter is extremely sensitive and is currently before the court.

Defending his post earlier, Mr Lal had said, “In India, if you speak about anything, someone or the other’s sentiment will be hurt. So this is nothing new. I am a historian and have made several observations. As I wrote them down, I have used very guarded language in my post and still this. I will defend myself.”

Mr Lal tweeted last week that his 20-year-old son was receiving threats on Facebook Messenger as a result of his tweet on the Gyanvapi mosque.

Mr Lal is the founder and editor-in-chief of Ambedkarnama, a news platform dedicated to Dalit concerns, in addition to his teaching position.