The state government will not spare anyone involved in the violence that erupted after morphed images of Shivaji Maharaj, Babasaheb Ambedkar and Bal Thackeray were posted on Facebook, said Home minister RR Patil in the legislative council on Tuesday. He added that no cases will be withdrawn against those an FIR has already been registered for vandalism, riots and damaging properties.
Defaming posts on the social networking site had resulted in serious uproar in Maharashtra, leading to losses to the tune of Rs3.47 crore.
Shiv Sena MLC Ramdas Kadam demanded discussion on the issue on the floor of the house. MLCs Deepak Sawant and Neelam Gorhe demanded to know what the state government was doing to curb such instances and nail the culprits who posted the images on Facebook.
Patil informed the House that the police has registered cases against a total of 289 people on various charges of liking the post and forwarding it as well as of rioting and indulging in vandalism thereafter. He said the police are looking for more culprits and added that the government will not tolerate riots in name of activism, which ultimately create a problem for the public at large.
Patil also warned people not to 'like' or forward any such derogatory post on WhatsApp or Facebook and instead alert the nearest police station of it.
Five new cyber cells in state
To curb cyber crime in Maharashtra, the state government will start five new cyber investigation cells over and above the 43 existing ones. The state has plans to set up nine such cells, and five will be in Kolhapur (rural), Kolhapur (city), Nashik, Nagpur and Aurangabad. The cells will help the police take cognisance of such cases and nip them in the bud. The state police has 67 officers and 137 employees trained for cyber security.