Two journalists in Assam were arrested and three others were detained on Wednesday, February 17, for their alleged attempt to malign state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma after they "shared a photo of him along with his daughter with a salacious intent", the police said.
The police started probing the case after the minister's wife had filed a complaint with the Dispur police station under the POCSO Act, reported NDTV.
Taufiquddin Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of local news website ''Pratibimba Live'', and its News Editor Iqbal were arrested for an alleged "conspiracy", while three other employees were detained, Guwahati police said.
The minister said that it was a clear case of political conspiracy but to "stoop so low and not spare even my minor daughter, reflects a very low mentality".
"I have been attacked on all fronts by my opponents but when they failed to create any impact, they have adopted a different strategy to malign my character and I have been noticing this recently," Sarma said.
Sarma said that the disturbing image was shared with a "malafide intent".
Senior police official (Law and Order) GP Singh said that the police will take strict action against such attempts under stringent provisions of the POCSO Act.
The journalists were arrested on the basis of a case registered for intending to insult the modesty of any woman, and Sections 14 and 21 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
"Action shall be taken against all persons irrespective of their place of residence who use any of the social media platforms to maliciously use such platforms for furthering this conspiracy," Singh added.
The website had shared a photo of the minister hugging his daughter. An apology was later put up for not mentioning that the girl in the photo was the minister's daughter.