4 Assam journalists among 6 arrested for 'maligning' Himanta

·2-min read

(Eds: With fresh updates) Guwahati, Feb 17 (PTI) Four journalists, including a woman, were among six persons arrested on Wednesday for their alleged attempt to malign Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma after they shared a photo of him along with his daughter with a 'salacious intent', police said.

The minister's wife had filed a complaint with the Dispur police station here under the POCSO Act, following which the Guwahati City Police began probing the case.

Taufiquddin Ahmad, the Editor-in-Chief of local news website 'Pratibimba Live', its News Editor Asif Iqbal Hussain and two other employees Nazmul Hussain and Nurul Hussain were arrested in Guwahati, police sources said.

They were produced before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, which remanded them to five days in police custody.

Two other journalists -- Nang Noyonmoni Gogoi of 'Spotlight Assam' in Sibsagar and Puli Muchahary of 'Bodoland Times' -- have also been arrested in this connection, police said.

The minister alleged that this 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,' he told reporters.

Sarma said that the photograph posted with a malafide intent was disturbing and 'we could not sleep the whole night'.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) G P Singh said that the police would take strong action against all such attempts under stringent provisions of the POCSO Act, he said.

They were arrested on the basis of a case registered with the Dispur police station under IPC Section 509 (intending to insult the modesty of any woman), and sections 14 and 21 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, he said.

'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, following which it went viral on social media.

The website later apologised for not mentioning that the girl in the photo was the minister's daughter and blamed others for sharing it with the intent to defame Sarma.

The news outlet faced backlash for the intent to share the photo in that manner, with Sarma retweeting it and mentioning that it was him and his daughter.

Police said they are investigating the matter to identify those behind the post going viral. PTI DG ACD ACD