Two people were arrested in the Balurghat town of the Dakshin Dinajpur district of West Bengal after they allegedly criticised the traffic restrictions in the town during Durga Puja celebrations on social media, The Telegraph reported on Saturday. The movement of vehicles, except battery-operated and cycle rickshaws, were restricted between 4 pm and 4 am during the festive season.
On September 27, wholesale merchant Debajit Roy had posted on Facebook, “Bikers...whatever you do, please ensure that you park your bikes in the garage by 4 pm or else you can’t return home. If you are into business...then those who have issued the diktats will arrange your meal...”
In another post, he claimed that he had to walk with his pregnant wife and 18-month-old child for 5 km as they could not find any battery-operated or cycle rickshaws.
After the posts went viral, cycle rickshaw drivers held a protest on October 4 alleging that Roy was trying to provoke other residents, the English newspaper reported. Deputy Superintendent of Police (headquarters) Soumyajit Barua said notices were served to those who had made the posts on social media as well as those who had commented on them. While most people turned up to admit their mistake, two of them did not, Barua said.
“They came only a few days ago and as we spoke to them, we felt they were concealing information and had plans to create a situation that would have breached law and order,” Barua told The Telegraph. “That is why they have been arrested.”
The other accused was identified as Anupam Tarafdar. Roy and Tarafdar were sent to police remand for two days on Friday.
Two cases were filed against them – one filed by the cycle rickshaw drivers, and the other by the police themselves. Charges dealing with identity theft, hacking and impersonation under sections of the Information Technology Act were also invoked against the two.
“There was nothing in the posts and comments that could have led to a breach of law and order,” Roy’s lawyer Bhaskar Guha told the English newspaper.