Wave Of Arrests Against Alleged Defamatory Social Media Posts: 10 Points

Despite the outrage that followed the arrest of Prashant Kanojia, Assam and Tripura police have arrested individuals who allegedly shared defamatory and derogatory social media posts about Chief Ministers Sarbananda Sonowal and Biplab Kumar Deb, respectively

Wave Of Arrests Against Alleged Defamatory Social Media Posts: 10 Points

Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist, was arrested after a complaint by a police officer in Lucknow

New Delhi:  A member of the ruling BJP's social media cell in Assam has been arrested for allegedly making communal remarks and insulting Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in posts on Facebook. Another person, a BJP supporter, has been arrested for defamatory posts against Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb on the same social media platform. In Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has come under fire from opposition parties for having registered over 119 cases against those targeting him on social media. The abovementioned arrests come amid national outrage over recent arrests of five people - including of journalists - on charges of defaming Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
Here are the top 10 updates on this big story:
  1. Assam police yesterday arrested Nitu Bora, a BJP IT cell member from Morigaon district, for communal and derogatory social media posts aimed at Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. At least three others were picked up for questioning on similar allegations.
  2. In recent posts Nitu Bora had claimed the BJP government in the state was unable to protect indigenous Assamese from migrant Muslim settlers. He also indicated he held the Chief Minister responsible for a breakdown in law and order.
  3. "How can they stop us from exercising our right to freedom of speech? This is intolerance if I cannot speak my mind on social media," a member of the social media team told IANS on condition of anonymity.
  4. Another BJP supporter, Anupam Paul, was arrested by Tripura police from Delhi yesterday on charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery and defamation. Anupam Paul was credited with the "chalo paltai (let us change)" slogan that helped the BJP beat the Left in last year's election. 
  5. At the time of the post, Chief Minister Biplap Kumar Deb and his wife had claimed the entire episode was part of a "deep-rooted conspiracy" to destabilise the BJP-led coalition in the state.
  6. In Kerala, opposition parties compared Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath after it emerged that over 119 cases had been registered over the last three years against those targeting him on social media.
  7. Police sources told NDTV that "just 25-30 cases" were registered against those creating fake news in the name of the Chief Minister or abusing him on social media during the Sabarimala controversy.
  8. Kerala police denied claims that similar complaints lodged by opposition leaders were not taken seriously. "There is no law that prescribes criminal investigation and prosecution for defamatory messages, regardless of how improperly they are phrased. However, if any message contains obscenities or elements that can cause communal tensions, breach of internal security, or threat to life, a case can be registered," an officer told NDTV.
  9. Earlier this month the arrest of Noida-based journalist Prashant Kanojia by Uttar Pradesh police for allegedly defaming Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sparked outrage across the country.
  10. Mr Kanojia was picked up from his home in Delhi on Saturday, after he tweeted a video of a woman who claimed on camera that she sent a marriage proposal to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. His wife Jagisha Arora had challenged the arrest in the Supreme Court, which ordered he be released; the court said fundamental right to liberty is "non-negotiable".

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