Nagpur/Mumbai: BJP leaders have approached Nagpur police commissioner flagging “threatening messages” being put out on social media against former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis amidst the COVID-19 situation and registration of “false cases” against BJP workers.
A complaint application was submitted to police commissioner Bhushan Kumar Upadhyay on Monday by Nagpur city BJP chief Pravin Datke and others.
A similar complaint was filed by another MLC Prasad Lad with the Ratnagiri district superintendent of police on Tuesday.
Datke alleged that Fadnavis, currently the Leader of Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly, was “threatened with encounter messages whenever he comes live on social media to talk about the COVID-19 situation”.
“If the Leader of Opposition is being threatened in such manner how will common people stay safe in Maharashtra?” he asked.
BJP leader and MLC Anil Sole, also from Nagpur and believed to be close to Fadnavis, said that leaders of the saffron party have been constantly targetted by trolls in the last few days.
“Many comments are very personal in nature and are in bad taste,” he said.
Apart from Fadnavis, former ministers Chandrashekhar Bavankule, Sudhir Mungantiwar and Vinod Tawde were also allegedly got trolled during their social media interactions.
Mungantiwar said online bullying was a deliberate attempt to target the BJP.
“I have retrieved data of the people trolling me during my Facebook live as well as of other BJP leaders. I found that many online accounts have common names which means that some people are purposefully trolling us,” he told PTI.
Mungantiwar also said the BJP would not stop holding the state government accountable for its performance notwithstanding trolling.
“The Maharashtra government has recently taken action against a so-called BJP leader from Nashik district for allegedly making some offensive remarks. If this is the case, then we are also giving out complaints to police officials. We will see how the state government takes action against these trolls, who are indirectly helping the ruling government,” said another BJP leader.
The online war with political hues had turned physical when an engineer was beaten up recently allegedly by the men close to state Housing Minister and NCP leader Jitendra Awhad in Thane.
Awhad had also released some of the tweets purportedly posted by the engineer against him and some NCP leaders.
Maharashtra NCP unit president and Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil said police had not taken any action against trolls during 2014-19 (when the BJP was in power) despite several complaints.
“We had then tried to file complaints with police officials in various parts of the state against trolls, but police didn”t accept our complaints then,” he said.
Patil claimed that many social media handles had been supporting then CM Fadnavis and the BJP.
“The BJP should first clarify whether they were paid accounts or not,” Patil said.
Meanwhile, Nagpur BJP chief Datke alleged that leaders of a ruling party have been criticising the state governor, which he said amounted to indiscipline.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi government is headed by the Shiv Sena, with the NCP and the Congress as its constituents.
State Home department had registered 341 cyber crime cases in various parts of the state, an official had said last week.
As per the National Crime Records Bureau data, Maharashtra recorded 2,380 cases of cyber crime in calendar year 2016 followed by 3,604 in 2017 and 3,511 in 2018.