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Tripura Police demand suspension of 68 Twitter profiles for comments on communal clashes

Accounts were accused of spreading "distorted" content about the recent communal clashes in the state, some more may have been booked under UAPA

Karuna John 06 Nov 2021

Tripura violenceImage: BBC

Tripura Police continue to crack down on social media posts on the recent communal violence in the state. According to NDTV, Twitter has been told by the police to suspend 68 profiles on the platform for spreading "distorted" contents on the communal clashes in the state. The accounts that the police have identified have been accused of posting "distorted or objectionable" content about the alleged Mosque vandalism in the state. Police told the media that these 68 handles have also been booked under stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA).

The West Tripura district police have written to Twitter's grievance officer at his official address in California in the United States, on November 3, reported NDTV. Their request states, "Some persons / organisation are publishing / posting distorted and objectionable news items / statements on Twitter regarding the recent clash and alleged attack upon mosques of Muslim communities in the state." 

It also reportedly mentions that some posts on these profiles contain “photographs or videos of some other incidents,” and alleged that the “posts have potential to flare up communal tension in Tripura State between people of different religious Communities, which may result in communal riots." The police have asked for a list of IP addresses, and mobile numbers where the 68 users logged into their Twitter accounts. According to some social media users the number of Twitter handles now under the scanner may be as high as 102. One of those include journalist Shyam Meera Singh who posted that all he had written were “these 3 words Tripura is burning, BJP Government of Tripura has imposed UAPA on me.” He added that he was not scared of jail.

 

 

Fact-finding report of the Tripura violence under scanner

Authors of a report of the Tripura violence where Muslim minorities were targeted, released by Lawyers For Democracy, a coalition of law practitioners, have also been slapped with charges under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). As per Tripura Police, Advocates Ansar Indori, secretary of the National Confederation of Human Rights and Mukesh, who works for the Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) were served notice because they shared posts on social media, which the police say led to promoting enmity among two religious groups as well as provoking the people of different religious communities to cause a breach of peace. Tripura Police have charged the lawyers under Indian Penal Code Sections 153-A and B (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming information), 503 (criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke the breach of peace) and 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) and have also invoked the draconian UAPA.The advocates have been asked to appear for questioning by November 10.

 

People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemns the Tripura Police 

The Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has condemned the Tripura Police for registering the FIR on November 03, under the UAPA and other draconian provisions of the IPC against the fact finding team (FFT) of Lawyers for Democracy. According to a statement issued by PUCL, “It is clear that the police have invoked the draconian provisions of UAPA law only because of the findings of the FFT that the large scale violence which destroyed numerous homes, shops, mosques and other properties of Muslims in many towns in Tripura was the result of orchestrated violence unleashed by Hindu majoritarian groups like the VHP and HJM, against minority Muslims with the tacit connivance and conscious abdication of their duties by the Tripura police.” PUCL say they were shocked “that the West Agartala Police Station has sent a notice u/s 41 A of the Criminal Procedure Code to Advocates Mukesh, National Co-Convener, AILAJ and  member of PUCL- Delhi and Advocate Ansar Indori of the National Confederation of Human  RightsOrganizations (NCHRO) imputing that it was their social media posts, statements and  Report which were responsible for“promoting enmity between religious groups as well as  provoking people of different religious communities to commit breach of peace.”  

PUCL highlights that the Fact Finding Team of the Delhi Advocates visited Tripura  on October 29 and 30, and the communal violence which occurred between October 12 to 26t, and “the team neither abetted nor provoked the violence, so  even the lodging of the FIR by the police is nothing but a case of abuse of powers.” It accused the Tripura police of “seeking to criminalize what is not only a constitutional freedom but also a constitutional and democratic duty of every citizen, to seek the truth about  incidents of communal violence so as to fix accountability and transparency from the political  and bureaucratic executive.”

The PUCL statement may be read here:

The Tripura Dateline so far:

November 6: Tripura police demands suspension of 68 Twitter profiles

Tripura police tells Twitter to suspend 68 profiles for comments on communal clashes. Accounts reportedly charged under UAPA as well.

November 3: Lawyers booked under UAPA over social media posts 

A team of Delhi-based lawyers been booked under UAPA over social media posts after a fact finding visit to the state, and a report titled, ‘Humanity under attack in Tripura’ which documents  the attacks is released to the public. Lawyers accused under various IPC sections as well.

 

November 2: The NHRC takes cognisance 

The NHRC takes cognisance of a complaint filed by the Trinamool Congress TMC against the communal violence in Tripura and asked the Chief Secretary and the DGP of  Tripura to file a status report before the NHRC in 4 weeks. 

 

October 29: Tripura High Court takes Suo Motu cognisance 

Tripura High Court takes Suo Motu cognisance of incidents of communal violence that were reported on October 26 from North Tripura district, Unakoti District and  Sipahijala Districts. 

 

October 29: Section 144 imposed, an ABVP leader attacked

Shibaji Sengupta and ABVP leader was injured, reportedly when he had gone to check out information that some “student leaders of opposition parties were threatening the students of RKI school, Kailashahar”. There he, reportedly, “got involved in a heated altercation that later took a turn of physical assault and fistfights. Section 144 imposed in Laxmipur and Kailashahar, after a group of unidentified miscreants allegedly vandalised a Kali temple in Kailashahar's Kubjhar area under Laxmipur Gram Panchayat

 

October 29: Citizens for Justice and Peace writes to National Commission for Minorities 

As anti-Muslim violence flares in Tripura, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has written to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) over the targeted attacks. Over the last few days, mosques have been allegedly vandalised by right-wing groups. Further, shops and houses owned by Muslims have also not been spared by these mobs who are allegedly carrying out attacks as a retaliation to the attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh.

 

October 12- 26: Communal violence reported from several districts in Tripura   

Right-wing mobs allegedly vandalised as many as six mosques in Tripura, claiming these attacks to be retaliation for the anti-Hindu violence in Bangladesh. According to some media reports, over a dozen houses and shops belonging to Muslims were vandalised by Hindutva groups like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal across Tripura, during protests. Fifteen cops were reportedly injured and section 144 imposed in several parts of the state to control the situation. A 10,000 strong rally of VHP was organised in Dharmanagar in North Tripura District, stated PUCL, while another rally was organised in Agartala of  West Tripura district by 13 Hindutva related organisations.  

 

Related:

Tripura violence: Hate and communal polarisation

Notice under UAPA: A never ending spiral of detention

Tripura violence: Delhi-based lawyers booked under UAPA over social media posts

Fear and trauma still haunts survivors of anti-Muslim violence in Tripura: Lawyer for 

Tripura: ABVP leader attacked, Section 144 imposed in 2 subdivisions

Anti Muslim violence in Tripura, HC takes suo motu cognisance

Tripura: CJP writes to NCM over vandalisation of mosques and shops owned by Muslims

Tripura Police demand suspension of 68 Twitter profiles for comments on communal clashes

Accounts were accused of spreading "distorted" content about the recent communal clashes in the state, some more may have been booked under UAPA

Tripura violenceImage: BBC

Tripura Police continue to crack down on social media posts on the recent communal violence in the state. According to NDTV, Twitter has been told by the police to suspend 68 profiles on the platform for spreading "distorted" contents on the communal clashes in the state. The accounts that the police have identified have been accused of posting "distorted or objectionable" content about the alleged Mosque vandalism in the state. Police told the media that these 68 handles have also been booked under stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA).

The West Tripura district police have written to Twitter's grievance officer at his official address in California in the United States, on November 3, reported NDTV. Their request states, "Some persons / organisation are publishing / posting distorted and objectionable news items / statements on Twitter regarding the recent clash and alleged attack upon mosques of Muslim communities in the state." 

It also reportedly mentions that some posts on these profiles contain “photographs or videos of some other incidents,” and alleged that the “posts have potential to flare up communal tension in Tripura State between people of different religious Communities, which may result in communal riots." The police have asked for a list of IP addresses, and mobile numbers where the 68 users logged into their Twitter accounts. According to some social media users the number of Twitter handles now under the scanner may be as high as 102. One of those include journalist Shyam Meera Singh who posted that all he had written were “these 3 words Tripura is burning, BJP Government of Tripura has imposed UAPA on me.” He added that he was not scared of jail.

 

 

Fact-finding report of the Tripura violence under scanner

Authors of a report of the Tripura violence where Muslim minorities were targeted, released by Lawyers For Democracy, a coalition of law practitioners, have also been slapped with charges under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). As per Tripura Police, Advocates Ansar Indori, secretary of the National Confederation of Human Rights and Mukesh, who works for the Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) were served notice because they shared posts on social media, which the police say led to promoting enmity among two religious groups as well as provoking the people of different religious communities to cause a breach of peace. Tripura Police have charged the lawyers under Indian Penal Code Sections 153-A and B (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc), 469 (forgery for purpose of harming information), 503 (criminal intimidation), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke the breach of peace) and 120B (punishment for criminal conspiracy) and have also invoked the draconian UAPA.The advocates have been asked to appear for questioning by November 10.

 

People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemns the Tripura Police 

The Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has condemned the Tripura Police for registering the FIR on November 03, under the UAPA and other draconian provisions of the IPC against the fact finding team (FFT) of Lawyers for Democracy. According to a statement issued by PUCL, “It is clear that the police have invoked the draconian provisions of UAPA law only because of the findings of the FFT that the large scale violence which destroyed numerous homes, shops, mosques and other properties of Muslims in many towns in Tripura was the result of orchestrated violence unleashed by Hindu majoritarian groups like the VHP and HJM, against minority Muslims with the tacit connivance and conscious abdication of their duties by the Tripura police.” PUCL say they were shocked “that the West Agartala Police Station has sent a notice u/s 41 A of the Criminal Procedure Code to Advocates Mukesh, National Co-Convener, AILAJ and  member of PUCL- Delhi and Advocate Ansar Indori of the National Confederation of Human  RightsOrganizations (NCHRO) imputing that it was their social media posts, statements and  Report which were responsible for“promoting enmity between religious groups as well as  provoking people of different religious communities to commit breach of peace.”  

PUCL highlights that the Fact Finding Team of the Delhi Advocates visited Tripura  on October 29 and 30, and the communal violence which occurred between October 12 to 26t, and “the team neither abetted nor provoked the violence, so  even the lodging of the FIR by the police is nothing but a case of abuse of powers.” It accused the Tripura police of “seeking to criminalize what is not only a constitutional freedom but also a constitutional and democratic duty of every citizen, to seek the truth about  incidents of communal violence so as to fix accountability and transparency from the political  and bureaucratic executive.”

The PUCL statement may be read here:

The Tripura Dateline so far:

November 6: Tripura police demands suspension of 68 Twitter profiles

Tripura police tells Twitter to suspend 68 profiles for comments on communal clashes. Accounts reportedly charged under UAPA as well.

November 3: Lawyers booked under UAPA over social media posts 

A team of Delhi-based lawyers been booked under UAPA over social media posts after a fact finding visit to the state, and a report titled, ‘Humanity under attack in Tripura’ which documents  the attacks is released to the public. Lawyers accused under various IPC sections as well.

 

November 2: The NHRC takes cognisance 

The NHRC takes cognisance of a complaint filed by the Trinamool Congress TMC against the communal violence in Tripura and asked the Chief Secretary and the DGP of  Tripura to file a status report before the NHRC in 4 weeks. 

 

October 29: Tripura High Court takes Suo Motu cognisance 

Tripura High Court takes Suo Motu cognisance of incidents of communal violence that were reported on October 26 from North Tripura district, Unakoti District and  Sipahijala Districts. 

 

October 29: Section 144 imposed, an ABVP leader attacked

Shibaji Sengupta and ABVP leader was injured, reportedly when he had gone to check out information that some “student leaders of opposition parties were threatening the students of RKI school, Kailashahar”. There he, reportedly, “got involved in a heated altercation that later took a turn of physical assault and fistfights. Section 144 imposed in Laxmipur and Kailashahar, after a group of unidentified miscreants allegedly vandalised a Kali temple in Kailashahar's Kubjhar area under Laxmipur Gram Panchayat

 

October 29: Citizens for Justice and Peace writes to National Commission for Minorities 

As anti-Muslim violence flares in Tripura, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has written to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) over the targeted attacks. Over the last few days, mosques have been allegedly vandalised by right-wing groups. Further, shops and houses owned by Muslims have also not been spared by these mobs who are allegedly carrying out attacks as a retaliation to the attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh.

 

October 12- 26: Communal violence reported from several districts in Tripura   

Right-wing mobs allegedly vandalised as many as six mosques in Tripura, claiming these attacks to be retaliation for the anti-Hindu violence in Bangladesh. According to some media reports, over a dozen houses and shops belonging to Muslims were vandalised by Hindutva groups like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal across Tripura, during protests. Fifteen cops were reportedly injured and section 144 imposed in several parts of the state to control the situation. A 10,000 strong rally of VHP was organised in Dharmanagar in North Tripura District, stated PUCL, while another rally was organised in Agartala of  West Tripura district by 13 Hindutva related organisations.  

 

Related:

Tripura violence: Hate and communal polarisation

Notice under UAPA: A never ending spiral of detention

Tripura violence: Delhi-based lawyers booked under UAPA over social media posts

Fear and trauma still haunts survivors of anti-Muslim violence in Tripura: Lawyer for 

Tripura: ABVP leader attacked, Section 144 imposed in 2 subdivisions

Anti Muslim violence in Tripura, HC takes suo motu cognisance

Tripura: CJP writes to NCM over vandalisation of mosques and shops owned by Muslims

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