The Bihar government has decided to bring offensive and defamatory social media posts against the government, its ministers, and other officials, under the category of cybercrime. This decision by the state government has received incessant backlash and criticism.
The ADG of Economic Offences Wing, Bihar, said that anyone found making objectionable and misleading comments on social media against the government, ministers, MPs, MLAs and other government officials would fall under the preview of cybercrime.
CM Nitish Kumar has now ordered the state police's Economic Offenses Wing to report and take action against those guilty of such crimes.
"It has come to light that certain persons and organisations have been making defamatory and offensive comments on social media against the government, respected ministers, parliamentarians, legislators, and government officials," Economic Offenses Wing, IG Nayyar Hasnain Khan wrote to all secretaries of the state government.
The letter was released on the behalf of Economic and Cybercrime Department from Bihar Police Headquarters on January 21.
The senior officer then urged all officials to inform the Economic Offences Wing about such acts so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice.
Responding to IG Khan's letter, Bihar leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav referred to CM Nitish Kumar as "Bheeshm Pitamah" of the corrupt and the "protector of criminals". The RJD leader then also dared the state government to arrest him for his post and claimed that the chief minister is following the footstep of Hitler.
Soon after the order received massive backlash, the Bihar police on Friday issued a clarification about the move saying that "constructive criticism was welcome" and only posts spreading rumours and using "insulting language" would be targeted.
"Criticism is healthy for democracy. But criticism must be constructive and the language used must fall within the norms of decency," Jitendra Kumar, Additional Director General Headquarters said. "This advisory was issued keeping in mind rumours and factually incorrect information and involving the use of insulting language on social media - these are punishable offences under the IT Act."