Other States

Bihar acts against ‘offensive comments’

A copy of the letter written by Nayyar Hasnain Khan, Inspector General of Police (IG), State Economic Offences Wing  

Bihar is set to witness action under cyber crime law against individuals and organisations for “offensive comments” against the government, its officials, Ministers, MPs, MLAs and officials.

And Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav dared Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to send him to jail under the new cyber law for ‘exposing’ the ‘wrongdoings’ of the government on social media

Nayyar Hasnain Khan, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Economic Offences Wing, which also handles cyber crimes, said in a letter written on January 21 to all Principal Secretaries and Secretaries of departments, “It has regularly been coming to light that certain persons and organisations have been making offensive comments through social media and Internet against government, honourable ministers, MPs, MLAs and government officials as well, which is against prescribed law and comes under cyber crime laws. For this act, it seems appropriate to take action against such organisations and individuals”.

He further stated, “You all are requested to inform the Economic Offences Wing with details about any such act so that suitable legal action could be taken against those organisations/individuals after investigation”.

Tejashwi’s charge

On social media, Mr. Yadav said, “As many as 60 scams happened during Nitish Kumar’s regime. Nitish Kumar is Bhishm Pitamah of corruption, patron of hardened criminals and weak head of an illegal and immoral government”.

He also tweeted to say that the police in Bihar “sell liquor and save criminals while implicating innocent people”.

RJD leader and party spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari said, “This government has become intolerant towards criticism by the media and other people. It’s an arbitrary move and a sign of nervousness, and we’ll oppose such a move by the government”.

State Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra stated that the “order reflects how much the NDA government is scared of criticism by people. It is like a Tughlaqui [dictatorial] farman [order] to suppress questions raised against the government”.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Awadhesh Kumar said, “the Nitish Kumar government is resorting cybercrime rules to hide corruption charges made against it and also to gag those who raise questions on it”.

NDA leaders, however, welcomed the government move, saying: “It is necessary to legally curb those who use offensive and defamatory languages against the government, public representatives and officials and it will in no way gag the freedom of expression of people”.

‘Constructive criticism welcome’

However, later, the State police said that “constructive criticism is welcome and only those posts on social media which spread rumours and use offensive and defamatory languages would be targeted under relevant cyber laws”.

Jitendra Kumar, Additional Director General of Police (ADG-Headquarters), told media persons: “Criticism is healthy for democracy but criticism must be constructive and the language used must fall within the norms of decency. This advisory was issued keeping in mind rumours and factually incorrect information involving the use of offensive and defamatory language on social media as these come under punishable IT Act.”

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 9:17:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/offensive-comments-on-social-media-against-bihar-govt-officials-to-invite-action/article33633111.ece

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