SIKKIM POLICE WANTS PEOPLE TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSIBLY Prakash Lee's FB post had potential to in


SAGAR CHETTRI

Gangtok, 04 Apr: Senior police officials addressed a press conference today to underline that people

need to be extremely careful about the opinions and information they share on social media especially when they take an instigating tone to convey false or misleading information on sensitive and serious

matters which have potential to create a law & order situation. The press conference was called in connection with the arrest of known Sikkim Democratic Front supporter, Prakash Gurung ["Prakash Lee"], in connection with a case which has been playing out on Facebook for the past few days about one Bhim Bahadur Mukhia who had gone "missing" shortly after posting an 11-minute rant against the State Government in which he also railed against the Chief Minister. DIG [Range], Sikkim Police,

Prawin Gurung, informed that Mr Mukhia's wife had filed a missing person's report about her husband at the Sadar Thana on 28 March. As per the missing person's report, the family had not been able to trace Mr Mukhia since 26 March, the DIG-Range informed. Two days after filing the report, the wife returned to

Sadar Thana to inform that Mr Mukhia had been found and the missing person's report was withdrawn on 31 March. While this was playing out, announcements of his having gone missing and seeking help

to trace him had started circulating widely on social media, and on 01 April, Mr Prakash Gurung posted a cryptic message announcing that the said person who had spoken against the government had gone missing and that Sikkim Police should make finding him a priority Apparently, this post was also widely shared and on 01 April, Mr Mukhia's wife was, as per the authorities, back at Sadar Thana to file a

complaint that the speculations and exaggerations being shared about her husband on social media was traumatising the family and causing undue harassment. The FIR was lodged and Mr Prakash Gurung called in for questioning on 01 April and subsequently taken into custody. The DIG detailed that based on the FIR filed by Mr Mukhia's family, a case was registered at Sadar Thana under section 153A and 505 (2) of the IPC and Prakash Gurung booked. SP [East], Dr Shiva Prasad Yellasari, claimed that the Facebook post in question was based on false information since it was posted on 01 April, 48 hours after Mr Mukhia had been traced. He added that the tone of the Facebook post by Mr Prakash Gurung had potential to incite disaffection and violence against the authorities if Mr Mukhia had not been traced.

It is another matter that things did not come to such a pass, but the SP stressed that posting something without cross checking the facts suggested a dangerous ulterior motive which could have created a serious problem. The DIG-Range echoed these sentiments and wondered aloud about a serious law and order situation could have been created if Mr Mukhia had not been traced. This, the DIG stressed, was a serious crime while adding that Sikkim was a peaceful State but some individuals have been trying to besmirch this image by creating confusion among the people with negative and fake posts on social media. He further urged the people to use social media platforms responsibly in the interest of the people and the society and also to properly check and verify information before sharing them.

Following Mr Prakash Gurung's arrest, it may be recalled, that his sister and advocate Nawin Kiran Pradhan had protest at the thana challenging the police action and accusing Sikkim Police of over-reacting and political targeting. Mr Prakash Gurung, meanwhile, is now out on bail. Responding to media queries on the repeated arrests of Mr Prakash Lee, the SP confirmed that there were seven criminal cases against him dating back to 2016 when the first case was registered against him. Cases against him are being investigated at Sadar Thana, Pakyong Police Station and CID branch of Sikkim Police.

Prakash Lee's FB post...Apparently, this post was also widely shared and on 01 April, Mr Mukhia's wife was, as per the authorities, back at Sadar Thana to file a complaint that the speculations and exaggerations being shared about her husband on social media was traumatising the family and causing

undue harassment. The FIR was lodged and Mr Prakash Gurung called in for questioning on 01 April and subsequently taken into custody. The DIG detailed that based on the FIR filed by Mr Mukhia's family, a case was registered at Sadar Thana under section 153A and 505 (2) of the IPC and Prakash Gurung booked. SP [East], Dr Shiva Prasad Yellasari, claimed that the Facebook post in question was based on false information since it was posted on 01 April, 48 hours after Mr Mukhia had been traced. He added that the tone of the Facebook post by Mr Prakash Gurung had potential to incite disaffection and violence against the authorities if Mr Mukhia had not been traced. It is another matter that things did not come to such a pass, but the SP stressed that posting something without cross checking the facts

suggested a dangerous ulterior motive which could have created a serious problem. The DIG-Range echoed these sentiments and wondered aloud about a serious law and order situation could have been created if Mr Mukhia had not been traced. This, the DIG stressed, was a serious crime while adding that Sikkim was a peaceful State but some individuals have been trying to besmirch this image by creating confusion among the people with negative and fake posts on social media. He further urged the people to use social media platforms responsibly in the interest of the people and the society and also to properly check and verify information before sharing them. Following Mr Prakash Gurung's arrest, it may be recalled, that his sister and advocate Nawin Kiran Pradhan had protest at the thana challenging the police action and accusing Sikkim Police of over-reacting and political targeting. Mr Prakash Gurung, meanwhile, is now out on bail. Responding to media queries on the repeated arrests of Mr Prakash Lee, the SP confirmed that there were seven criminal cases against him dating back to 2016 when the first case was registered against him. Cases against him are being investigated at Sadar Thana, Pakyong

Police Station and CID branch of Sikkim Police.