Thiruvananthapuram: The police are keeping an eye on hundreds of social media profiles that circulate offensive messages calling for riots and creating religious tensions in protest on the verdict allowing entry of women to the Sabarimala temple. Police have found around 600 offensive messages in the last few days.
Police have identified 40 users who have been circulating offensive texts and have kept them under surveillance. No cases have been registered as the issue remains a matter of controversy. Cases under IT act will be registered later according to the severity of messages.
The cyber cell of Kerala police is surveying the social media messages. Most of these are fake messages stating that police have been taking action and giving directions against pilgrims. A large number of these contain images of lathi-charges from the past which are re-posted as police assaulting pilgrims. Several messages call for attacks while others create tension using comparisons with other religions.
Most of these messages originate from similar profiles. Some are created in Kerala and sent abroad through whatsapp to be circulated using fake profiles. Police have noticed several incidents of messages of extremist nature being circulated through fake accounts in Kerala as well.
Police believe that organised groups are behind the messages and that there are several such groups in each district. Sending offensive messages is a punishable offence under the IT act that could attract imprisonment up to five years and fine up to Rs one lakh. The police are probing as to how many of the 40 identified users can be booked under provisions of the IT act.
Behera promises stringent action
“We have noticed several people circulating offensive on social media with an aim to create religious tension and hatred. Several groups spread such messages using their chain of supporters. Stringent action will be taken against such persons/groups under provisions of the IT act,” Lokanath Behera, Kerala state police chief.