A man was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly running a pro-Pakistan WhatsApp group in Bettiah town of West Champaran district, police said. Superintendent of Police Jayant Kant said that one Saddam Quraishi, 22, who is the admin of 'Pakistan Zindabad' group, was arrested from Nazni Chowk. The police also seized the mobile phone from which the WhatsApp group was being run, the officer said. He was arrested on the charge of conspiring to disturb the unity and integrity of the country after a complaint by some locals, he said, adding that Quraishi might have Pakistan connection.
In the aftermath of Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF jawans, the authorities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir began a crack down on WhatsApp groups instigating Anti-India sentiments. The Jammu Deputy Commissioner had then directed those creating and running WhatsApp groups to immediately enable message uploading status to “only admins can send messages”, register with their nearest police stations, and report any content that could disturb “ regional and religious” sentiments to the police. While the ban on sending messages in WhatsApp groups will remain in force till 28 February, the registration of WhatsApp and Facebook groups has to be done by 23 February.
To combat fake messages on Whatsapp after concerns were raised about social media misuse as fake news, morphed photographs and disturbing videos with fabricated local narratives that can easily be circulated that can trigger tension and even communal rift in an area, the DM in Uttar Pradesh warned teh administrator of the groups.
In a joint order issued by District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra and Senior Superintendent of Police Nitin Tiwari, it has been made clear that any factually incorrect, rumour or misleading information on a social media group could result in an FIR against the group administrator.
"There are several groups on social media which are named on news groups and also groups with other names which are propagating news and information which is not authentic. These are being forwarded without cross checking," it said. Considering this issue, directives are being issued to social media groups, WhatsApp and Facebook group administrators and members, the order said.
(with PTI inputs)