Assam police arrested a member of the ruling BJP's social media team on Thursday for allegedly making communal remarks and insulting Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal through posts on private social media handles. At least three others were picked up for questioning from across the state on similar allegations.
Police sources confirmed to NDTV that Nitu Bora, a BJP IT cell member from Morigaon district, had been arrested for communal and derogatory social media posts.
In recent social media posts Nitu Bora had claimed the BJP government in the state was unable to protect indigenous Assamese from migrant Muslim settlers. He also indicated that he held Chief Minister Sonowal responsible for the state of affairs.
"There was an FIR lodged against Nitumoni Bora by Raju Mahanta last night based on which we have arrested him. It was stated in the FIR that he had posted a derogatory comment against the Chief Minister," Morigaon Superintendent of Police Swapnanil Deka said.
Nitu Bora also posted that he believed the Chief Minister was to blame for failure to maintain law and order and demanded Himanta Biswa Sharma, the BJP legislator from the Jalukbari Assembly seat, be sworn in as the new Home Minister.
According to news agency IANS, the house of another BJP IT cell member, Hemanta Baruah, was raided by police on Wednesday night; Baruah hails from Majuli, the district and constituency represented by the Chief Minister.
After the arrest, members of the BJP IT cell team questioned the existence of freedom of speech within the party.
"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. None of the members have made any derogatory comment. However, some of the members only expressed their unhappiness when the government fails to protect the indigenous people of the state. There is nothing wrong in it," a member of the party's social media team told IANS on condition of anonymity.
With inputs from IANS