GUWAHATI: The Assam Police have launched a crackdown on social media users posting hate and offensive messages even as the number of people arrested so far for their role in Friday’s incident of lynching of two persons from Guwahati by a mob in Central Assam’s Karbi Anglong has gone up to 23.
In the past two days, the police arrested over a dozen people from different parts of the state for posting objectionable messages on social media. An Additional Director General of Police has been entrusted to keep vigil on social networking platforms.
Karbi Anglong Superintendent of Police, GV Siva Prasad, said of the 23 people arrested in connection with the lynching incident, 18 were currently in judicial custody. He said a special investigation team (SIT) had been constituted to get to the bottom of the case. The four-member SIT will be headed by an additional SP.
The police said six people had been arrested in Nagaon, a neighbouring district of Karbi Anglong, for allegedly intimidating Karbis (tribesmen) and posting an offensive video on Facebook.
“There were some boys, who moved around the town yesterday (Sunday) in trying to intimidate some Karbi people. We picked up 12 to 13 of them and following the investigation, we found that six of them were associated. So, a case was registered and the six were arrested. One of these guys had made a Facebook video. The accused went to houses to find out if they had Karbis as tenants. They also went to a bus stand and tried to find out if people and buses were leaving for Karbi Anglong. They also tried to check people’s identity on the roads,” a senior police official said.
The circulation of fake and offensive comments through social media caused the exodus of some Karbis. Requesting anonymity, a senior police official told The New Indian Express that a section of the tribesmen fled cities and towns.
“Some people are going back to Karbi Anglong. Actually, they are worried. The fear factor is there. You can’t say it is exodus but you can’t deny it either. The fear stems from the bad role being played by some users on social media. Posting of objectionable comments has gone down after the police started cracking down on them,” he said.
He also said that confidence-building measures were put in place. The situation is by and large peaceful, he signed off.