BJP IT cell member Nitu Bora was arrested for allegedly insulting Chief Minister Sonowal on social media
Guwahati, Assam: A member of the ruling BJP's social media cell in Assam was arrested yesterday for allegedly provocative posts on Facebook. Nitu Bora, who was released on bail today, is also accused of making insulting remarks against Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in posts on Facebook. Another person, a BJP supporter, was also arrested yesterday for allegedly defaming Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb on the social media platform. The arrests come amid a nationwide outrage over the recent arrests of five people - including journalist Prashant Kanojia - on charges of defaming Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, triggering a heated debate over freedom of expression.
Here are the top 10 updates on this big story:
- Nitu Bora, a member of BJP Assam social media team, has been charged with making provocative and derogatory comments against Bengali Muslims. Various cases have been filed against him under the Indian Penal Code.
- In a recent post 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 and urged him to surrender the Home Ministry to Himanta Biswa Sarma.
- Nitu Bora's arrest has unsettled BJP workers in the state, who have 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," a member of the social media team told IANS on condition of anonymity.
- In Tripura, police arrested another BJP supporter, Anupam Paul, for allegedly spreading fake news about the family life of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb. Anupam Paul is charged with forgery, defamation and criminal conspiracy.
- Chief Minister Biplap Kumar Deb and his wife, Niti Deb, earlier claimed the entire episode was part of a "deep-rooted conspiracy" to destabilise the BJP-led coalition in the state.
- In Kerala, opposition parties criticised Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after it emerged that over 119 cases had been registered over the last three years against those targeting him on social media. 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.
- Earlier this month the arrest of Delhi-based journalist Prashant Kanojia by Uttar Pradesh police for allegedly defaming Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led to outrage across the country and sparked a debate on freedom of expression in the country, with the Editors Guild of India terming the journalists' arrests "high-handed and arbitrary".
- Mr Kanojia was picked up from his home in Delhi last week, 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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