In what can be considered as the state’s most serious bid to contain the ever spreading hatred on the social media against the SAD-led government, the police have in the past one month registered over a dozen cases -- including eight against NRIs -- for sedition, issuing threats and posting derogatory material on the internet.
Besides, at least a hundred requests have been made to Facebook for banning pages which contain such objectionable material.
On November 24, Amritsar rural police arrested one Bikram Singh of Mirankot Khurd village for allegedly announcing a reward of Rs 20 lakh on the ‘head’ of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. “Bikram’s name has been added to the FIR registered following the radical Sarbat Khalsa as he was influenced by the lectures given there. He was present at the radical congregation with a Khalistani flag. His Facebook page is also full of incriminating content,” Amritsar rural SSP Jasdeep Singh Saini said.
A similar case has been registered against one Satnam Singh in Patiala for posting a video announcing a Rs 10 lakh reward for killing the chief minister. “Satnam Singh used to live in Tarn Taran some years ago and we are trying to locate him,” said Tarn Taran SSP Manmohan Kumar.
On October 17, two youths were arrested in Sultanpur Lodhi for uploading provocative material on a website and a social media page. Their accomplice, living in Canada, was also booked. The website, an internet TV channel, was allegedly being run by Amandeep Singh, from Dadwindi village, and Pavittarbir Singh, from Mannan village.
In Moga, a journalist at Kot Isse Khan was booked for posting derogatory remarks against Union minister and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Badal on a Whatsapp group.
CYBER CRIME CELL SPRINGS INTO ACTION
Other than the cases registered in the districts, the cyber crime wing of the police have received over 60 complaints in the past month and a half. “Out of these, we have registered eight or nine cases. The accused have been booked under various sections of the IT Act other than the IPC,” said Praveen Sinha, IG, cyber crime.
“From among the complaints, we are weighing scales of legality. We are registering cases in those complaints where there is a threat issued by the accused and there is clear criminality involved. Many complaints, however, fall in the category of defamation for which we advise the complainant to approach the court. The cases where the matter on the social media is limited to political attacks are ignored,” said Sinha.
A complaint was sent by Sham Chaurasi MLA Mohinder Kaur Josh that her picture had been posted on a radical website announcing that she had resigned. “The complaint was forwarded to the cyber cell in SAS Nagar for action,” said Dhanpreet Kaur, SSP, Hoshiarpur.
LIVING ABROAD NO IMMUNITY
Majority of the cases registered by the cyber cell are against people living in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, who are posting objectionable content on websites, Facebook pages or internet channels.
“Though we cannot arrest them since they are living abroad, we have moved cases for issuing lookout notices for them under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. We are also involving the Interpol for assistance in these cases. The accused in these cases will be arrested once they enter India and when lookout notices are issued against them their movement outside the country they are living in will become difficult,” added Sinha.
Other than registering cases, the cyber cell has also sent scores of requests to Facebook to ban the pages which contain seditious content. “We directly approach Facebook, while also moving these cases through the Computer Emergency Response Team of India.” added Sinha