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After attacks on Muslims: Tripura police ask Twitter to block 102 accounts

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The Tripura Police have invoked the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against 102 Twitter accounts for allegedly spreading distorted and objectionable content about the recent violence in the state, the Hindustan Times reported Saturday.

The police action came following the recent attacks on Muslims and mosques in Tripura.

The Tripura police sent notices to the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, USA, asking them to freeze the accounts of these 102 persons.

"some persons/organizations are publishing/posting distorted and objectionable news items/statements in Twitter regarding the recent clash and alleged attack upon mosques of Muslim communities in the state. In publishing these news items/posts, the persons/organizations have been found using photographs/videos of some other incidents, fabricated statements/commentary for promoting enmity between religious groups/ communities in presence of a criminal conspiracy. The posts have the potential to flare up communal tension in Tripura state between people of different religious communities, which may result in communal riots," the notice served to the authorities of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube said as reported by PTI.

The Tripura Police have sought user registration details of the Twitter accounts, their browsing log details, IP addresses used to log in to the accounts and mobile numbers linked to the accounts.

The accounts against whom the police have sought action include those of journalists Mohammad Sartaj Alam, Shyam Meera Singh and CJ Werleman, and former Aligarh Muslim University student leader Sharjeel Usmani.

Shyam Meera Singh, a journalist at NewsClick, said that the Tripura government has booked him under the UAPA for his social media post. Singh that he has been booked for writing, "Tripura is burning". "I want to reiterate once again, I will never hesitate to stand up for justice," he tweeted on Saturday.

After attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh last month, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had organized a protest rally in Tripura on October 26, which led to violence and attacks on mosques as well as shops and homes of Muslims. However, the police have repeatedly claimed that the law and order situation in the state was "absolutely normal". They also claimed that no mosques had been burnt.

The VHP is affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological fountainhead of India's Hindu supremacist groups which seeks to convert India into an ethnic Hindu state. Most top leaders of India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, started their political careers as RSS workers.


Earlier this week, the police also booked two lawyers - Mukesh Kumar and Ansar Indori - under the UAPA, and sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with promoting disharmony, forgery, intentional insult and criminal conspiracy. The lawyers were part of a fact-finding team that looked into the violence in Tripura.

The report, co-authored by Supreme Court lawyers Ehtesham Hashmi and Amit Srivastav, said the violence erupted because of the "irresponsibility of the administration, along with extremist organizations and the vested interests of ambitious politicians".

'16 mosques targeted'

The string of attacks targeting mosques has triggered fears and anxiety among Tripura's Muslim minority, Al Jazeerah's correspondent in Tripura said.

Mufti Abdul Momin, who heads a faction of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, an influential pan-India Muslim organization, in Tripura told Al Jazeera that 16 mosques were attacked. "Most incidents happened in the night and the locals were not able to identify the perpetrators."

Panisagar town, located in North Tripura district, saw the most arson and vandalism on October 26. Residents and police say the violence happened during the VHP rally.

Tripura, a remote state dominated by Bengali-speaking Hindus, is currently governed by Modi's BJP. Muslims form about nine percent of its 3.7 million population.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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