A video clip that is going viral in the poll-bound state of Gujarat has created a lot of unease because of its alleged ‘anti-Muslim’ content, forcing the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer to order a probe by the police into its emergence and source.
The video content is alleged to be aimed at spreading hatred against Muslims "to polarise votes" in the poll-bound state.
"We have taken cognisance of the matter after learning about it from the media. The matter has been taken very seriously at all levels. The police have been asked to investigate. The cyber-crime department will investigate the matter," Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) BB Swain said on Sunday.
Swain has asked the district election officers (DEOs) to be careful about the poll code violation on social media platforms and address the matter immediately.
"We have asked all DEOs to be very careful. Apart from looking into the expenditure part, the teams have also been asked to look into MCC (Model Code of Conduct) violation and initiate due action," Swain told PTI.
The 1.15 minute-long clip begins in Gujarati and shows a girl hurrying back to home through a deserted locality with 'azaan' (Muslim call to prayer) playing in the background. The clip ends with a line that reads, "Our vote, our safety."
Nobody has claimed responsibility for making and circulating the video clip.
Advocate Govind Parmar of Human Rights Law Network had written to the CEO, the cyber-crime cell of the Ahmedabad Police, and the Election Commission with a request to ban the video clip and take action against those responsible for its creation and circulation.
Parmar had written that the video attempts to spread hatred by whipping up fear towards the Muslim community with an attempt to polarise votes.
He also sought action against the persons behind the video clip under section 153(A) - promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion - of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
(With PTI inputs)