A member of Assam’s Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), which is led by imprisoned rights activist Akhil Gogoi, has been arrested on suspicion of making “offensive posts” against Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Nipom Chutia is the state’s third arrestee on charges of “slandering Chief Minister Sarma’s image.”
He was arrested late Saturday in Gogamukh, Dhemaji district, for his Facebook comments against Sarma’s past.
The entries cover Sarma’s prosecution for extortion on behalf of the separatist ULFA and the death of Congress trade unionist Manabendra Sarma, for which the now-Chief Minister was the primary suspect.
Sarma claims he has acquitted in both cases and that the Facebook posts were a “deliberate attempt” to defame him.
Gogoi leads the KMSS, which won this year’s Assembly elections despite campaigning from jail on charges of encouraging “violent agitation” against the BJP-backed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The KMSS has also campaigned against major dams in the Arunachal Pradesh-Assam region, stating that the region is a seismic hotspot and that a big earthquake, such as the one that devastated Assam in 1897 or 1950, may result in what Gogoi calls to as a “land tsunami.”
Dhemaji, Assam’s northernmost district on the Arunachal Pradesh border, has been the focus of the anti-dam campaign, which the state’s BJP government has sought to crush on the grounds that it was “anti-development.”
Sarma got his start in politics as a member of the All Assam Students Union (AASU). He joined the Congress during the tenure of late Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia and rose to the rank of deputy chief minister during the tenure of late Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
He then joined the saffron movement in the run-up to the 2016 state Assembly elections.
According to Congress, the CBI examined the Sarada chit fund scam, which included a name similar to that of the Louis Berger event.
Two journalists were arrested and three others were detained in February on accusations of trying to “malign with salacious intent” Harma by posting a photograph of him with his daughter.
The Chief Minister’s wife filed a complaint with the Dispur police station under the POCSO Act, forcing the Guwahati City Police to conduct an inquiry.
Taufiquddin Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of local news website ‘Pratibimba Live,’ and Iqbal, the website’s News Editor, were detained in connection with the “conspiracy,” Guwahati City Police Commissioner Munna Prasad Gupta said. Three further suspects were apprehended.
Three arrested personnel were questioned in order to ascertain their involvement in the incident, he said.
Although this was obviously a case of political conspiracy, the Minister told reporters here that “stooping so low and without sparing even my tiny daughter reveals a very low attitude.”
“My adversaries have attacked me from every angle,” Sarma said, “but when they have been unable to have an impression, they have developed a new tactic for slandering my reputation, which I became aware of lately.”
He said that the sight was unpleasant and that “we were unable to sleep the whole night” as a result of it.
G.P. Singh, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), said that the police will take serious punishment against any such attempts in compliance with the stringent criteria of the POCSO Act.
They were arrested under IPC Section 509 (intentionally insulting a lady’s modesty) and POCSO Sections 14 and 21, he said.
“Anyone, regardless of their residence, who intentionally utilizes any social media site to forward this scheme will face prosecution,” Singh added.
The website posted a photograph of the minister cradling his daughter, which garnered enormous attention on social media.