Once again, India has proven it can’t take a joke, much less a meme. An FIR was filed against comedy group All India Bakchod (AIB), after they posted – and subsequently deleted – a meme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which had the popular dog filter from Snapchat on the PM’s face. Taking suo motu action, the cyber police noted the FIR, after being flooded with complaints on social media.
The case was registered under Sec 500 (defamation) of the x and 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act against the administrator of the AIB Twitter handle.
On July 12, AIB, which is no stranger to making jokes about Modi, put a picture of a man who looked like PM. Next to it was the ‘objectionable’ photograph, which was the PM’s face with the Snapchat dog filter on it, captioned ‘#wanderlust’. The group published the picture on various social media platforms. However, some netizens across the country took offence and said the meme was insulting Modi.
A Twitter user tweeted to the Mumbai Police with a screenshot of the AIB meme. The cops promptly responded to the man and said, “Thank you for bringing this to our notice. We are forwarding it to cyber police station.” Sources said that since many people expressed their anger on social site regarding the post, higher officials instructed the Mumbai cyber cell to register the FIR against AIB’s official Twitter handle.
“Since citizens started complaining to Mumbai police about the objectionable post on social media, we looked into it and after taking legal advice, which prima facie indicated a cognisable offence, an FIR was registered. Further investigation is on,” said Sanjay Saxena, Jt CP (crime).
However, city police commissioner Datta Padsalgikar chose not to answer when asked why did the cops show such a hurry in registering the FIR and on what grounds is it a cognisable offence. A senior officer said that the picture shared by AIB is morphed and it looks like PM Modi, hence defaming the PM.