The Manipur government on Wednesday said that it will file cases against anybody circulating images and videos of violence in the conflict-hit state.
The state home department issued the order three days after a video showing a man’s body being burnt in a trench emerged on social media. The police clarified that the video was from May 4.
The government said that such photos or videos could mobilise mobs of agitators, thus aggravating law and order concerns.
“...The state government views very seriously and with utmost sensitivity the reported spread of videos and pictures/images depicting violent activities like causing/inflicting harm/injury to body and/or damage, to public/private property etc. through various social media platforms,” read the order.
The government said that it decided to restrain such material as a “positive step” towards bringing about normalcy.
“Anyone misusing technology for inciting violence/ hatred shall also be dealt with appropriately under relevant provisions of Information Technology Act and Rules and the Indian Penal Code,” said the state home department.
Since the conflict broke out in Manipur in early May, several videos of violence have evoked widespread concern and condemnation.
On July 19, a video of two Kuki women being paraded naked by a mob emerged on social media. The women were assaulted on May 4, and the police had registered a case on May 18. However, it was only after the video was shared on social media that nine persons were arrested in the case.
The Manipur government had lifted a ban on mobile internet on September 23 – over four months after the services were first suspended in the wake of the ethnic conflict between the Meitei and Kuki communities in May. However, the ban was reimposed on September 26 after thousands of people protested in Imphal over the killing of two Meitei students.
On Wednesday, the ban on mobile internet was extended till October 16.