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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 19, 2013
The Centre has asked state governments to strip junior police officers of their powers to arrest netizens who post “harmful” content on the Internet, unless they get approval from their superiors.

The advisory, sent earlier this month, follows the widespread outcry over the arrest of two girls with regard to a Facebook post criticising the shutdown in Mumbai during Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s funeral in November last year.

It asked the state governments to issue formal directions, barring police station-level officers from arresting any person before getting approval from an inspector general of police-rank officer in metros or the district police chief. The central guideline would, however, not help in cases where the arrests have the backing of the state government — as in the case of a  professor last year.