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Delhi Police call 18-yr-old from UP for questioning, suspect him of creating Clubhouse group

The Print logo The Print 22-01-2022 Bismee Taskin
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New Delhi: The Delhi Police Cyber Cell Friday called in for “questioning” an 18-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh in the Clubhouse offensive chat group case, said sources in Delhi Police.

According to the sources, the man, who has been identified as Rahul Kapoor, is a resident of Lucknow and is suspected to be the creator of one of the chatroom groups on the social media platform Clubhouse, where derogatory and sexually explicit comments were made against Muslim women.

Two chatgroups were created on Clubhouse Monday. While “Muslim gals are more beautiful than Hindu gals” was created Monday afternoon, “Girls don’t have the privilege to marry upper caste boys” was created Monday evening. According to Delhi Police sources, Kapoor was the creator of the first group.

“One of the IDs he used was Bismillah. He is suspected to have created the group and was one of the moderators,” a senior officer in the Delhi Police said, on the condition of anonymity.

ThePrint had earlier reported that the ID Bismillah appeared to be a part of both of the groups. The ID has since been deactivated.

Sources in Delhi Police also claimed that during interrogation Kapoor, has revealed that he had created the group on the instructions of another person with the username ‘Sallos’. According to the sources, Kapoor claimed he handed over the position of the group moderator to ‘Sallos’ after creating it. While sources said police have already identified the person behind the ‘Sallos’ username, the details are yet to be divulged.

The sources added that Kapoor is the son of an accountant. His phone has been seized and he is expected to join investigations in Delhi by Saturday evening.

Asked if Kapoor is suspected of also having created Monday’s second Clubhouse chatroom — “Girls don’t have the privilege to marry upper caste boys” — the officer quoted above said, “we are verifying all technical evidence. The investigation is on. We are questioning him on the others who were part of the groups.”

According to the officer, other Clubhouse IDs that appeared to have been a part of the Clubhouse chats in Monday’s recording, among them ‘Harsh’, are also being tracked.

Relations with Muslim women, sexist comments

On Monday night, a screen recording of conversations on the Clubhouse chatroom “Muslim gals are more beautiful than Hindu gals” went viral after being uploaded on Twitter. The recording showed around 18-20 participants discussing the “pink private parts of Muslim women”, and “Oedipus complex” involving a “Muslim mother”, among other lewd, Islamophobic and sexist remarks.

The conversation — ThePrint has accessed extended recordings of the chat — compared sex with a Muslim woman to “building seven temples” and “demolishing the Babri Masjid”. ThePrint has also accessed recordings of another discussion that took place in a second chatroom around the topic “Girls don’t have the privilege to marry upper caste boys”, the same day.

On Tuesday, Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal issued a notice to the Delhi Police demanding action against the participants for making “obscene comments against Muslim women”. Within hours, the police lodged FIRs against unknown persons under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), and 354A (sexual harassment).

The Clubhouse chat case comes close on the heels of the controversy over the ‘Sulli Deals’ and ‘Bulli Bai’ website/apps on GitHub, which uploaded photos of Muslim women without their consent and put them up for “auction”. Delhi Police have arrested the alleged masterminds behind the two portals, while three others suspected to be involved with ‘Bulli Bai’ were arrested by the Mumbai Police.

Mumbai Police also filed an FIR in the Clubhouse case late Wednesday, based on a complaint made by a 33-year-old woman. The woman in her complaint said the two Clubhouse rooms had “auctioned” her and other women. She also mentioned in her complaint two other similar Clubhouse groups that were allegedly created last year, and where she and four other women were “auctioned” by a group of men. Of the previous two Clubhouse rooms, the first was created around 27 October and the other a month later, on 27 November, according to the FIR, of which the ThePrint has a copy.

A team of Mumbai Police Cyber Cell Thursday arrested three men from Haryana for their alleged involvement in the case — 19-year-old Akash Suyal from Karnal, 21-year-old Jaishnav Kakkar from Faridabad, and 22-year-old Yash Parashar. A fourth accused named in the FIR, Ritesh Jha, is yet to be arrested and is “absconding”, according to sources in the Mumbai Police.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: What is consent, asks ‘Liberal Doge’, booked for sexist-casteist slurs & ‘auctioning’ women online

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