Assam Woman Charged for Facebook Post on Beef Deleted Two Years Ago

Eating beef is not against the law in Assam.

New Delhi: The Assam police has registered a case against a research scholar for a two-year-old Facebook post on beef – which she had deleted soon after posting.

Rehana Sultana claims that she posted during an India-Pakistan cricket match because she was frustrated after Virat Kohli was dismissed. The post was “misinterpreted”, NTDV quoted her as saying, as so she deleted it within minutes.

According to the Indian Express, Sultana has been charged under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity) and Section 67 of the IT Act (publishing a defamatory post). “We have registered a suo motu case. It is an old post but we took cognisance as it has surfaced again,” DCP, Guwahati west, K.K. Chowdhury told the newspaper.

Sultana’s original post, written in Assamese, said:

“Ate beef today to support celebrate Pakistan’s joy. What I eat depends on my tastebuds. But don’t create a controversy and show your character hearing about beef.”

Eating beef is not against the law in Assam.

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Speaking to the Indian Express after the charges were filed, Sultana said, “There is a controversy going on that I have written this post on this Bakrid. But I had written it over two years, back in June 2017, and then deleted it soon after my comment was misrepresented and people started targeting me. On June 19, 2017, I had also written a clarification, stating that my satirical post was misconstrued.”

“There was an India-Pakistan match and India played badly. I had written that satirical post to express my sadness that India lost and Virat Kohli was out on a duck. And since the controversy regarding eating beef and people being attacked for eating beef was making news at that time across the country, I wrote it that way. I do not understand how the post has been taken out of context and a controversy created and a case registered,” she continued.

DGP Kuladhar Saikia told NDTV that the police had been asked to look out for “such instances”. “We are making all efforts to ensure that social media platforms are not used to spread fake news and hate messages. Local police departments have also been asked to keep an eye out for such instances.”

Sultana was also one of the ten people charged by the police for sharing a poem critical of the Nation Register of Citizens.