Bordering districts in Bihar, adjoining West Bengal, are keeping close tabs on social media, besides activities on ground.
The Katihar district magistrate (DM) on Monday issued a fresh public advisory, asking the masses to refrain from posting inflammatory messages, which could potentially disturb communal harmony in the region.
The advisory was issued after district magistrate Mithilesh Mishra issued a somewhat similar order to his officers on July 1, asking them to keep a close watch on social media, especially WhatsApp groups, in which many were participants.
The action comes close on the heels of recent disturbance in Baduria in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district. Tension arose in Baduria after a Facebook post showing “objectionable images’’ linked to the Prophet and Kaaba Sharif in Mecca went viral, following which a mob vandalised shops and homes, and set fire to vehicles, triggering retaliatory attacks.
Fearing the communal flare in West Bengal to spread, intelligence agencies had put on alert adjoining districts of Bihar.
“Last week two instances were reported in which a few messages on social media were potentially disturbing. We arrested one youth and action is being taken in both the cases,” Mishra told HT.
“I have asked my officers who are part of many WhatsApp group not to remain mute spectators to any disturbing messages. Today, through a general order, I also laid down etiquettes on how administrators and participants of WhatsApp groups were expected to behave, laying down the broad dos and don’ts,” added Mishra.
Katihar superintendent of police SM Jain said, “We have galvanised our cyber cell to nail anti-social elements on social media platforms.”
The Purnia police had recently registered an FIR against a boy in connection with an instigating Facebook post against the local JD(U) MP Santosh Kumar.
Station house officer (SHO) of the Purnia sadar police station, Awadhesh Kumar, said: “We have slapped certain non-bailable sections under the Information Technology Act against the arrested youth.”
Araria and Kishanganj police administration are also on their toes. Last month, a 17-year-old boy was taken into custody by Kishanganj police after he posted his photograph on Facebook with the comment ‘Pakistan Zindabad’.