Kolkata: A BJP leader in Bengal has been arrested on charges of “spreading fake news and creating communal disharmony”, the state’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) tweeted today.
The arrested man, Tarun Sengupta, describes himself on social media as the BJP’s Asansol district IT in-charge. He is accused of posting fake images and videos on social media to stir communal trouble.
This is the latest such arrest in Bengal since communal violence erupted in North 24 Parganas near Kolkata recently.
Last week, the Kolkata police said they had arrested a person for sharing an image from a Bhojpuri film and passing it off as one from North 24 Parganas.
After the image was circulated, social media users and fact-checking websites like Alt News pointed out that the still was taken from a Bhojpuri movie called “Aurat Khilona Nahi” released in 2014.
Among those who shared the image, targeting the West Bengal government, on social media was Vijeta Malik, an official of the BJP’s Haryana unit.
The police have also registered non-bailable cases against Nupur Sharma, a BJP spokesperson, for sharing a 2002 Gujarat riot photo and claiming it was taken during the communal violence in Basirhat.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared last week: “Action will be taken for spreading fake pictures and videos. The law will take its own course.”
Violence flared in Baduria and Basirhat and spread to other towns in the North 24 Parganas district after a Facebook post by a 17-year-old on Prophet Mohammad angered Muslims. The teen was arrested and has been sent to jail.
The police have put out a series of tweets asking people not to be influenced by fake messages or posts on social media that are designed to create trouble.