Former Muslim Rationalist Aneesh Jasy Arrested By TN Cops For Facebook Posts On Islam
Aneesh’s friend alleges that the arrest was made without a warrant and that Aneesh was taken to the police station under false pretenses.
Coimbatore police arrested popular rationalist Aneesh Jasy ST last week for his Facebook posts questioning some of the tenets of Islam. Aneesh is well known in Tamil atheist circles and also used to host the Tamil Atheist House room on the Clubhouse app to discuss Rationalism, Scientific Temperament, Caste Discrimination, and Superstition. His Facebook posts are also in the same vein, challenging many Islamic beliefs. He usually uses the hashtag #ExMuslim to indicate that he himself was born into religion but has chosen atheism instead.
Late on the night of December 29, Aneesh was taken to Kuniyamuthur police station. Speaking to TNM, his friend alleges that the police did not have an arrest warrant and instead told Aneesh and his wife that he was being asked to come to the police station over an investigation of his colleague . The FIR was filed after Aneesh’s arrest, the friend further claims. In addition, the FIR was filed on the basis of a complaint from the Sub-Inspector (SI) of the Kuniyamuthur Police Station himself.
In the FIR, SI V Ganesh Kumar claims he was made aware of Aneesh’s Facebook posts that “insult Islam, the Prophet and the Holy Quran”. On this basis, the SI says it has verified the offending publications on Facebook. One of Aneesh’s messages mentioned in the FIR says that “people cry crocodile tears over a book they insist is holy” to which a meme is attached. The meme features an “ex-Muslim” who says: “he is ashamed when he reads the Hadith”. Another article refers to a recent viral video of Annapoorani devotee Arasu Amma, a self-proclaimed sacred woman. The devotee is seen loudly asking to be blessed by holding the feet of the deity against his face. Aneesh had called Muslims “hypocrites” while laughing at the video, adding that “there was no difference between the woman-god and the prophet Muhammad”.
SI Ganesh says in the FIR that printouts of these Facebook posts were attached to his written complaint. Kuniyamuthur Police Charged Aneesh Under Section 295 (a) [deliberate and malicious acts meant to outrage religious feelings], 153A (1) (c) [promoting enmity between different groups of religion, race place of birth etc.] and 505 (2) [statement conducing to public mischief].
Aneesh’s friend says he suspects conservative Muslims posting threatening comments on Aneesh’s Facebook profile were behind the arrest, but did not want to be named as plaintiffs. “I don’t think that the police themselves went to seek his posts and took charge of filing a complaint. What Aneesh was doing was nothing new. People from various religious backgrounds have become atheists and have written about the flaws of their previous religions. Since Periyar’s time this has been happening here. He was only criticizing the hypocrisy within the religion he had left.
The friend also said that on the night of the arrest, Aneesh was forced to call his wife around 10 p.m. to tell her he would be home soon. However, he remains in prison. Aneesh was first sent to Perundurai sub-prison and his request for bail was denied on January 5. He is now in Coimbatore Central Prison, Aneesh’s friend tells us.