Mischief or misled? Kolhapur police probe five college-going minors for posting provocative messages
Police officials said that the juveniles promptly deleted their social media accounts adding a layer of complexity to the ongoing investigation
The five persons detained in Kolhapur for allegedly keeping offensive social media account status are college-going minors and a probe is underway to find what or who prompted them to indulge in such an act, a senior police official said on Thursday.
Kolhapur district Superintendent of Police Mahendra Pandit said, “The probe is centered around whether the action by minors, all of whom are currently enrolled in junior college, was motivated by mischief or if they were provoked by anyone else.”
Two cases were filed in the city in regard to the objectionable posts and five youths were detained. They promptly deleted their social media accounts, adding a layer of complexity to the ongoing investigation. Officials said they are actively working to retrieve the deleted accounts in order to gather crucial digital evidence that could shed light on the intentions and motivations behind the controversial messages.
“The juveniles detained by police have deleted their social media mobile application and our team is trying to retrieve the data. Their phones have been seized and are being analysed. As per preliminary information provided by these five, they had copied each other’s social media status and used it for their accounts. Moreover, initial probe hints at videos being downloaded from the internet,” added Pandit.
Tension gripped Kolhapur on Wednesday after police used force to disperse a crowd that objected to the alleged use of Tipu Sultan’s image along with an objectionable audio message as social media “status” as well as Aurangzeb photos by juveniles who the police detained the previous day.
“We are trying to retrieve the app and data to find out where they got the videos. As of now, we cannot say whether they were provoked. We are also investigating some social media accounts that are trying to set a particular narrative. Details like who these belong to, when they were created, mobile numbers they are associated with are being ascertained,” Pandit informed.
A senior police official said that the detained minors are students of Class 11 and Class 12. One of them is a girl who posted Aurangzeb’s poster on her social media status. The post was objected by right wing activists who filed a case at Shahupuri police station. After this incident other minors started posting Aurangzeb’s photo on their status and were consequently booked by police.
Sources further said that one of the minors has installed a 2x3 feet poster of Aurangzeb in Sadar Bazar with a message in Urdu language.
Communal clashes- a regular occurrence
Maharashtra has in the past six months witnessed over 10 communal clashes and, in most cases, social media posts have been a common threat that led to sparking tensions between Hindu and Muslim groups.
In Kolhapur, the nature of the provocative content posted by the juveniles remained undisclosed, but it has garnered significant attention and concern from both the local community and police authorities.
Kolhapur police said that they are also analysing videos for any provocative speech delivered at the rally which was held to protest against the social media post. “We are keeping strict vigil on social media accounts which may try to set a particular kind of narrative. Investigation of such social media ids, profiles, and whom they belong to is currently underway by the cyber cell department,” said Pandit.