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Kolkata clashes: Web portal publisher arrested for sharing ‘provocative content’, sent to police custody

THE CALCULATED POLICE arrested Manab Guha, who runs an online Bengali news portal, on Thursday for allegedly sharing “provocative content” following clashes between two communities in the city’s Ekbalpur district on October 9.

“Guha was arrested for uploading community inflammatory videos on social media,” a senior police officer said. Police said Guha was convicted under Sections 120B (criminal association), 153A (Promotion of enmity among different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth), 295A (Deliberate and malicious, intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class by insulting their religion or religious beliefs), 500 (Defamation), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to cause public order), 505 (Statements contributing to mischief public) of the CPI and Article 67 of the Information Technology Act.

He appeared in court and was held in custody until October 24.

Later in the day, BJP Chief Suvendu Adhikari tweeted, “I am the Leader of the Opposition in the State making it clear that social media journalists like Manav Guha or others like Polumi Nag are doing honest journalism and bringing such news to the public , my support will always remain with them. I salute their fight.

According to police, since Sunday – the day of the incident – Guha wrote Facebook “provocative” messages and articles and that he ignored their requests to remove such content. The affected content has now been removed from his Facebook page.

On October 9, a clash between two communities took place in Mominpur, resulting in community tensions.

The following night, a group of people ransacked several houses on Mayurbhanj and Bhukailash road areas.

A group of people protesting this surrounded Ekbalpur police station and vandalized it. Nine police officers were injured in the incident.

Police have registered five cases and at least 47 people have been arrested in these cases so far.

On October 12, 2022, the High Court in Calcutta ordered the DGP of West Bengal to form an SIT to investigate the clashes and submit a report.