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HomeIndiaTripura Police file FIR against 102 social media accounts in October 'communal...

Tripura Police file FIR against 102 social media accounts in October ‘communal violence’ case

While 68 Twitter accounts have been booked, FIR also mentions 32 Facebook accounts & 2 YouTube accounts. Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been invoked in FIR.

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New Delhi: Tripura Police Friday filed an FIR against 102 social media users, including those on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, in connection to incidents of alleged communal violence witnessed in the state late last month. While 68 Twitter accounts have been booked, the FIR also mentions 32 Facebook accounts and two YouTube accounts.

The FIR has been filed at West Agartala police station and the complainant is the sub Inspector of the same police station, Tapan Chandra Das. Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and IPC sections of 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups), 153B, 469, 471, 503 (Criminal intimidation), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 120B (Criminal conspiracy) have been invoked in the FIR.

The single FIR which names 102 accounts including those of Indian and international journalists like Shyam Meera Singh, Aarif Shah and C.J. Werleman, reads, “These accounts published fabricated posts, commentary, statements for promoting enmity between religious groups and communities to cause breach of public peace. The rumours spread by them are intended to cause harm to the reputation of Tripura Police and the Government of Tripura in presence of a criminal conspiracy.” ThePrint has a copy of the FIR.

“We initially shortlisted 150 accounts, but then we zeroed in on 102 accounts, including (on) Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. UAPA is a big and harsh section put on terrorists. We understand the importance and intensity of the section, that’s why we have only used section 13 of the UAPA which says anyone who advocates, abets, advises or incites the commission of, any unlawful activity, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine,” Inspector General of Police, Tripura, Arindam Nath told ThePrint

He added: “We have also mentioned some unknown persons who were acting from behind the curtains to incite violence. We have shifted the case to the Crime Branch of Tripura Police. They will do a thorough investigation, may be some accounts can also come out to be fake. So we’ll cut those names from the FIR. And we are not going to arrest anyone right away, without ample evidence against them. Notices will also be served to account-holders depending on probe results.”

The violence in Tripura started with a mosque getting vandalised and shops and houses getting attacked and torched in Panisagar town, during a 26 October VHP rally on last month’s communal violence against Hindus in neighbouring Bangladesh.

This was followed by several other alleged incidents where mosques were vandalised, and establishments belonging to minority communities set on fire.


Also read: Muslim group allege ‘political conspiracy’ in Tripura communal violence, claim minority targeted


‘Shared posts tantamount to spreading hatred’

When asked about the basis of the FIR, Nath said, “All the accounts we have named have shared posts which tantamount to spreading hatred and violence. It’s a bigger conspiracy and we’re looking into it.”

Meanwhile, Tripura Police has also written to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube seeking details of the accounts named in the FIR. Details which have been sought includes user registration details, browsing log details from the date of registration to the present, list of IP addresses of systems from where these users logged in and mobile numbers linked to the accounts, including verified mobile numbers added for security purposes.

Earlier this month, Tripura Police had invoked the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against two lawyers who had alleged Muslims were targeted in last month’s violence and also named fringe outfits Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM), and Bajrang Dal as the perpetrators. The lawyers, conducting a fact-finding and legal assistance mission on behalf of the human rights group People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), had also said that the Tripura government and state police did not take timely action to stop the violence, which is “tantamount to sponsoring the violence”.

Friday’s FIR also mentions Jamaat-e-Islami Hind Vice President Salim Engineer, who was part of another fact-finding group that visited the state between 31 October and 2 November.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)


Also read: 3 days of violence, 42 FIRs — Why Tripura is witness to sudden spurt in political clashes


 

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