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According to authorities, a history professor at Delhi University's Hindu College was arrested last night after a social media post appeared to cast doubt on claims of a 'Shivling' discovered inside Varanasi's Gyanvapi mosque complex.

Ratan Lal, an assistant professor, was detained by police from the Cyber Police Station in north Delhi. He is accused of inciting religious hatred amongst groups and performing "acts harmful to the maintenance of unity."

Mr Lal appeared in court this afternoon, and his lawyer filed a motion for bail.

Following a police complaint from a Delhi-based lawyer, a FIR was filed against Mr Lal on Tuesday night. Mr Lal recently tweeted a "derogatory, inflammatory, and offensive tweet on the Shivling," according to counsel Vineet Jindal's complaint.

Mr Lal's tweet is "instigating and inciting," according to the lawyer who filed the case. He stated that the matter is extremely sensitive and is currently before the court.

Mr Lal had previously stated in defence of his position, "If you say anything in India, someone's feelings would be hurt. So there's nothing new here. As a historian, I've made a number of observations. I used very cautious language in my post when I wrote things down, and I continue to do so. I'm going to protect myself."

Mr Lal tweeted last week that his 20-year-old son was receiving threats on Facebook Messenger as a result of his tweet on the Gyanvapi mosque.