Will amount to sedition: Manipur govt warns people against spreading fake news about clashes

Will amount to sedition: Manipur govt warns people against spreading fake news about clashes

By Indrajit Kundu: The Manipur government on Monday issued an order warning people against the spreading of fake news and rumours. As per the new government order, people found spreading misinformation about the ongoing ethnic clashes in the state can be charged with sedition.

“No person will be immune to prosecution under the laws of the country if he/she is found to be generating or spreading fake news, lies, rumours or misinformation in connection with the ongoing law and order situation in the state of Manipur. Such spreading of wrong information will therefore amount to sedition,” the order read.

The Manipur government, in the order, said that several people with a large social media following have been sharing information on the law and order situation in the state. However, there were many instances wherein the information was found to be fake or rumour-based, read the order.

“A number of individuals in responsible positions having large followings on social media have been observed to be directly involved in generating and/or sharing information in connection with the ongoing law and order situation in the state of Manipur… Many of such information has been found to be fake news, lies, rumours or misinformation,” the order, issued by state Chief Secretary Vineet Joshi, read.

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At a time when the army, paramilitary forces and the state police are trying hard to contain the volatile atmosphere in the state, “wrong information has the potential to worsen” the situation by misguiding public opinion and instigating violence, the order read.

The government urged people to verify any information related to the Manipur clashes before sharing it publicly.

AMIT SHAH’S VISIT

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday arrived in Manipur for a four-day visit to review the security situation in the state. Soon after his arrival, he chaired a meeting in Manipur with Chief Minister N Biren Singh along with other state ministers to evaluate the security situation in the violence-hit state. He is expected to hold a series of meetings to discuss peace restoration in Manipur.

INTERNET BAN

Meanwhile, the Manipur government on Saturday further extended the ban on internet services in the state till May 31. With the latest extension, citizens in Manipur will remain disconnected from the internet for almost a month due to the turmoil. On May 3, mobile internet services in the state were banned, while all other forms of internet, including broadband, were banned on May 4.

Manipur has been witnessing violent clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities since May 3.

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