New Delhi: A 24-year-old Telangana man, Chinnam Balachander, has been arrested for what the state police has described as a “highly derogatory/objectionable” Facebook post against Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) and some other political leaders.
Balachander, who is a resident of Uppal in Hyderabad and works at an automobile showroom in Hyderabad, is an active member of a Facebook page called “Spirit of Telangana” that shares posts related to Telangana politics and has over 62k likes.
Using an assumed name, Balachander posted a morphed photograph of the chief minister lying eyes closed on a hospital stretcher surrounded by nurses. The accompanying text, in Telugu written in the Roman script, said “KCR has died of Corona and the virus entered through his nose”. The post – clearly in bad taste though lawyers are bound to contest the claim that it broke any law – was uploaded with an assumed name, ‘Panyala Raju’,
A constable at the Cyber Crime police station made a complaint against Balachander’s post on the page which led to his arrest on Friday.
He has been booked under sections 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code and section 67 of IT Act, which deals with obscenity.
The police said he had uploaded “abusive and most derogatory comments” against the chief minister. The post has been removed after the police urged Facebook to do so.
“Police seized a Samsung smart phone from the accused and it is based on the technical evidence that the cyber offender was arrested,” read a press note issued by Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat.
“The people and netizens are cautioned not to resort to such practices of spreading viral, derogatory, objectionable videos/postings and thus, defaming the government or individuals who are part of the Government. If in case they resort to such activities on social media, they will have to face severe consequences as per the law,” Bhagwat added.
The police further said the arrest was a warning to those who defame the government. “It (the post) was most objectionable and abusive in nature. One should not do some cut-copy-paste work using photos and use abusive comments against the chief minister. One should at least respect the post,” a senior officer told the Indian Express.