Just five days after Mamata Banerjee took oath as the third time Chief Minister of West Bengal, a crackdown on social media posts has begun. As per a report by The Print, the West Bengal Police claims to have identified 550 “fake” posts on social media related to post-poll violence out of which 150 posts were blocked, 34 cases registered and 21 arrests made in connection to the cases.
Among the FIRs filed, complaints have also been registered against senior BJP leaders Suvendu Adhikari, Kailash Vijaywargiya and Agnimitra Paul.
What seems like a priority for the newly elected Mamata Banerjee government, the Chief Minister while addressing the press on Monday said, “BJP’s IT cell” has been posting “fake news” because the party is not able to accept their defeat in the elections. “There has been no genocide. We saw only one genocide that took place in Cooch Behar’s Sitalkuchi on the polling day.”
Allegedly a request has also been sent to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to take action against 50 posts that were “highly inflammatory in nature”.
BJP IT Cell Head’s response
The BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya termed the crackdown on social media users as a “trick to divert attention using fissiparous arguments”.
In a statement to The Print, Malviya said, “Murder of BJP workers and supporters amidst large scale retributive political violence unleashed by TMC cadres and Mamata Banerjee’s studied silence on the bloodletting in the state is a grim reality.”
“She should focus on reining in her cadres and allow the administration to act against the marauding mobs, who are looking towards her for instructions, instead of trying to divert attention using fissiparous arguments,” he added.
Cyber wing of CID, Kolkata police on a watchout
The cyber cells of the state’s CID and the Kolkata Police have been put on the job to find “fake and hate posts” and take appropriate actions.
A senior officer informed, “The cyber wing of the state’s CID and Kolkata Police are working round the clock to maintain a vigil on such posts. The CID has also appealed to the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to take action against at least 50 posts, which are highly ‘inflammatory’ in nature.”
“We have identified around 550 fake and hate posts on several social media platforms. We wrote to several agencies, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, requesting them to remove or block such posts. As of now, at least 150 such posts were blocked or taken down by the agencies,” added the officer.
Apart from senior BJP leaders, an FIR has also been registered with the Kolkata Police against actor Kangana Ranaut for her “inflammatory” post referring to political violence in Bengal, confirmed the officer.
Claiming “only two incidents actually happened” while talking about the rape case, the officer said that these incidents are not connected with politics. However, a probe into the matter is still on.
NCW Chief denied extension of stay in West Bengal
Meanwhile, National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma on Thursday announced that she had been refused a one-day extension of her West Bengal visit which seeks to help women affected by the post-election violence in the state.
“Yesterday I extended my visit to Kolkata for a day but State Gov. didn’t want me to, so they sent this message to me as if I was here for a pleasure trip,” wrote Rekha Sharma in a Tweet. “In this 2 days trip met many women, saw so much pain in their eyes, and recorded horrible stories,” the NCW chief added, giving a plausible explanation as to why she would extend her official visit.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of West Bengal continues to assert that the BJP and its wings and supporting organizations are behind the alleged “fake” messages of the post-poll violence and claimed that the state witnessed no violence post the result day.
Ironic, as Banerjee on May 06 declared compensation to the kin of the victims who died in the attack. While declaring the compensation, Banerjee accepted that as many as eight BJP karyakartas have lost their lives in the brutality.