Indian YouTuber Arrested for 'Instigating Students to Stage Protest in Mumbai'

© Photo : YouTube/ Bollywood Uncensored Vikas Fhatak
Vikas Fhatak - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.02.2022
Last year, YouTuber Vikas Fhatak stoked controversy after posting a video clip, saying whoever made fun of his religion or God would not be forgiven. He also asked his fans and followers to openly bash those who indulged in such acts. Fhatak additionally lashed out at filmmaker Ekta Kapoor for "disrespecting" the Indian Army.
Social media influencer and YouTuber Vikas Fhatak alias "Hindustani Bhau" was arrested on Tuesday in Mumbai for allegedly instigating students to stage a protest.
A police complaint has been registered against him under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code, including that of rioting, the Maharashtra Police Act, Disaster Management Act, and Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Property Act.
Fhatak had earlier uploaded a video of himself on Instagram, allegedly instigating students by asking them to assemble near the residence of Maharashtra State Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad to demand cancellation of offline exams for classes 10 and 12, in view of COVID-19, on Monday.
"In these two years, many people have died because of COVID. Families are still recovering from the shock. And now the new drama of Omicron has started", Hindustani Bhau stated in the video.
He then said that despite the government urging people to remain indoors, school exams will be held offline.
"The exams should be cancelled, don't put lives of students at stake, otherwise there will be a protest", he added.
On Monday afternoon, hundreds of students protested in the Ashok Mill Naka area of Mumbai to oppose the holding of board exams for classes 10 and 12 in person, highlighting that throughout the year they had studied online due to COVID restrictions.
The protests took a violent turn in Mumbai and Nagpur, with some students damaging private property and police vehicles by hurling stones.
In Mumbai, police used batons to stop them from moving towards Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad's residence.
Meanwhile, talking to the media, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Pranay Ashok said on Monday: "Action will be taken as per the law against anyone responsible for instigating students".
Another police official said that Hindustani Bhau had visited the Dharavi Police Station, requesting law enforcement not to stop students from reaching Minister Gaikwad's residence.
The YouTuber posted another video on Instagram on Monday informing his followers and students that he met senior police officials who asked him to submit an official letter to the Maharashtra education minister mentioning students' demands.
He also appreciated the unity shown by students, while asking them to call off the protest and wait for the government's response.
The YouTuber additionally urged the state government to reconsider its decision to conduct exams offline and even warned that if this demand was not met then the protest would intensify.
Extending his support to the students, Hindustani Bhau said in the video that despite the police complaint against him, he would continue to stand with the students.
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