Bomb or Bombay? Six Muslims were arrested because of a typo in a text message

What the hell?
What the hell?
Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
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A typo on WhatsApp can turn explosive and land you in jail.

Six students from the southern Indian state of Kerala learnt this during their recent visit to Mumbai, India’s financial capital. The six were travelling to the city’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in a suburban train when one of them decided to send out a message from his mobile phone, which in turn was noticed by a fellow passenger.

“One of the six boys WhatsApped a friend about having reached Mumbai, and instead of writing ‘Bombay,’ he typed ‘Bomb.’ The word made the co-passenger suspicious, and he informed the police. After the Kurla GRP interrogated the boys, they handed them over to us,” senior police inspector Suresh Patil from the Vashi Government Railway Police (GRP) told The Hindu newspaper. “Bombay” was the old name of Mumbai.

The group was on its way to Rajapur in Maharashtra for a month-long course in Urdu. The police released them following confirmation that they were merely students.

The arrest comes amid a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric and a spate of lynchings of Muslims across India over cow theft, cow slaughter, and other suspected criminal activities. It is also indicative of the alertness following the terror attack in Manchester earlier this week.