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Assam govt plans crackdown on online abuse after attacks on politicians, celebs

Assam’s popular singer Zubeen Garg was threatened with murder on Facebook last month by a man, who was later arrested.

india Updated: May 22, 2017 18:29 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Cyber bully,Online abuse,Online attack
Police officials in Assam have been directed to deal firmly with the issue of online abuse and attack.(Reuters/ Representative image)

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has asked the state police to take stern action against those using social media platforms to attack others, following several incidents of online abuse of politicians and prominent people.

On Wednesday, Sonowal “directed police officials to deal firmly with the issues of online abuse and attack and urged the cyber cell to be more vigilant”—the chief minister’s Twitter handle informed.

“Online abuse and attacks will be dealt with seriously. We have taken action against some recently and the drive will continue,” Assam police DGP Mukesh Sahay told the Hindustan Times.

On Wednesday, police in Tihu town, located 10km west of the state capital, booked a man called Rakesh Misra for allegedly posting objectionable statements against local MLA Pabindra Deka. Deka belongs to Asom Gana Parishad, a partner of the one-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition in the state.

Earlier this month, Parimal Gore, an office bearer of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation’s youth wing, was arrested on charges of criminal conspiracy and intention to promote enmity between communities. The man from Biswanath district had shared a post originally written by Bipul Sharma that was highly critical of the chief minister and accused him of being an opportunist.

Last month, rights activist Bondita Acharya was threatened with acid attack and rape online by activists of a saffron outfit after she condemned the arrest of 3 people for allegedly possessing beef.

Assam’s popular singer Zubeen Garg was threatened with murder on Facebook last month by a man, who was later arrested. Another post, which went viral, made sexual innuendoes about another female singer.

Last week, state chief secretary VK Pipersenia had come under scanner for reportedly asking the police to take action against TV channels and newspapers carrying news of terrorist outfits.

Sonowal clarified no such directive has been issued by the state government.

“Our govt is committed to upholding freedom of press and at no point shall we allow Fourth Pillar of Democracy to be affected in any way,” finance, health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had tweeted.

The Sonowal-led government will complete one year in office on May 24.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting the state on May 26 and lay the foundation of the Dhola-Sadiya bridge, India’s longest at 9.15km, over the Brahmaputra as part of the anniversary celebrations.

First Published: May 18, 2017 09:45 IST