A man from West Bengal’s Dakshin Dinajpur has been charged by the Manipur Police for alleged defamatory posts on social media against the state government, Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Home Minister Amit Shah.
The accused, Arijit Biswas, allegedly posted on X (formerly Twitter) that Mr Shah and Mr Singh belong to a “terrorist organisation”, according to the first information report (FIR) filed by an Imphal resident.
The complainant alleged Mr Biswas, a resident of Balurghat, posted on X that the Manipur government has been “sponsoring” ethnic violence and carrying out “genocide”.
A copy of the FIR has been sent to the Commissioner (Home) for further action, people with direct knowledge of the matter told NDTV on Thursday. The charges have been filed under several sections linked to promoting enmity between communities on religious and race lines, including a non-bailable one, of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The police will send summons to Mr Biswas to join investigation, people familiar with the matter said, adding a team could be sent to arrest him if he refuses to cooperate in the investigation.
“The accused by using social media platforms as tools propagated misleading statements to destabilise a democratically elected government, disturb communal harmony by creating enmity among communities, and defame the state government and one particular community,” the complainant said in the FIR, a copy of which NDTV has seen.
“The accused intentionally made this false propaganda/misleading statements to continue and escalate the violence in Manipur. His unlawful activities are a threat not only to the security of the state but also to the nation,” the complainant said.
This is the latest police case filed in the state capital Imphal over alleged defamatory content. The Editors’ Guild of India also faces two FIRs over its report on the ethnic clashes, published by a three-member, crowdfunded team after staying in Manipur for four days, which the state government said was “false, fabricated and sponsored”.
The police in northeast states have, in some sensitive cases, sent their personnel to arrest people outside the state and bring them in. Gujarat Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani was arrested from the state’s Banaskantha district by a team of the Assam Police in April last year over his tweets on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He was brought to Assam to face trial. He was later released on bail.
In May 2021, the Arunachal Pradesh Police sent a team to Punjab and arrested a YouTube influencer, and brought him to Itanagar under police custody. The YouTube influencer, Paras Singh, had made racist comments on an MLA and the people of Arunachal Pradesh.