Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Saturday asked Director General of Police VS Yadav to "review" the cases against the 102 social media users including four Supreme Court lawyers, who were booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), for their posts on purported religious vandalism in the state, a senior official said. The DGP then directed the Crime Branch, which is investigating these cases, to review the matters and submit a report, the official of the Chief Minister's Office said.
If it is found that the accused persons deliberately attempted to spread rumour and disturb communal harmony, police were instructed to deal the cases with firm hands. However, if enough evidence is not found, their cases may be dropped, the official said. The state government has alleged that a group with vested interest from outside had hatched a conspiracy against the administration to create unrest in Tripura and malign its image by uploading fake photographs of a burning mosque on social media after an incident on October 26.
A mosque was vandalised and two shops were set ablaze on that day at Chamtilla during a Vishva Hindu Parishad rally which was called to protest against the communal violence in neighbouring Bangladesh. Three houses and a few shops, reportedly owned by Muslims, were also ransacked in nearby Rowa Bazar. The official said Tripura Police filed cases against 102 people including some journalists and lawyers under UAPA and various sections of the IPC for allegedly posting or sharing fake content on social media.If convicted under the stringent UAPA, an offender may face imprisonment for up to seven years. The state police earlier sent letters to the authorities of Twitter and Facebook to provide details of those social media users alleging they were involved in promoting communal disharmony.