Assam cops crack down on misuse of social media


GUWAHATI, June 12, 2018: Assam police has been prompted to launch a crackdown against the misuse of social media after the Karbi Anglong incident that took place on Friday.

Assam police headquarters said on Monday 22 persons, aged between 18 and 28 years, had been arrested for posting "disturbing" social media posts. A five-member special investigation team was constituted on Monday for a thorough investigation.

The police have arrested eight more persons in the past 24 hours – three allegedly involved in the lynching and five for trying to attack residents of Karbi Anglong in neighbouring Nagaon district on Sunday. The police had earlier arrested 16 persons in connection with the lynching.

The state police have issued warnings on booking administrators of WhatsApp groups for sharing disturbing messages by group members and for circulating "fake news" and unverified information on Facebook and twitter. They have also issued an advisory asking people for help to prevent spread of rumours on social media.

Police officials here on Monday said the crackdown was launched as investigations had revealed that "fake" social media posts on child lifters could have resulted in the lynching of the two youths.

A mob of nearly 250 people allegedly lynched Nilotpal Das, 29, and Abhijit Nath, 30, two youths at Panjuri Kachari village around 8pm on Friday, suspecting them to be child kidnappers. The duo, who had gone to visit a nearby waterfall in an SUV, died before police could reach.

The incident sent shockwaves across the state with many venting their anger on social media. This raised fears of violence against residents from Karbi Anglong living in other districts and had even led some to flee neighbouring Nagaon district following alleged threats by a group of suspected NSUI members, the Congress' student wing.

Bipul Pal, a resident of Khetri on the city's outskirts, was arrested on Sunday night for a "warning" on Facebook that people would take "appropriate action" against those involved in the incident.

Subhrajit Kashyap and Pradip Das were arrested in Darrang district for sharing "fake news and photos" of child lifters and sharing abusive messages on WhatsApp.

Raktimraj Roy, Gaurav Saha and Srikanta Saha of Sonitpur, Dipak Khaund and Dibyajyoti Saikia from Biswanath Chariali, Simanata Terang in Dibrugarh and Bhabajyoti Deka, Ankur Nath and Mridupawan Muktiar were arrested in Nagaon district for disturbing social media posts.

"A team led by an additional director-general of police is keeping watch on social media and a deputy commissioner of police is doing the same in the city," commissioner of police (Guwahati), Hiren Chandra Nath, said.

Source: The Telegraph

Featured image: Representation