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Assam CM directs state police to arrest Garga Chatterjee

Written by Abhishek Saha
| Guwahati |

Updated: June 20, 2020 7:17:34 pm

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal (Left) and Garga Chatterjee (Right).

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday directed Assam Police to arrest Kolkata-based political commentator Garga Chatterjee for allegedly making objectionable comments against first Ahom king Chaolung Sukapha and the Ahom community.

Sonowal said that Sukapha was the architect of the greater Assamese identity and making derogatory statements about him could not be tolerated.

To commemorate Sukapha and his rule in the 13th century, Assam celebrates “Asom Divas” on December 2 every year.

“Posting of offensive remarks on social media misinterpreting historical facts could lead to rift between different communities in an ethnically diverse state like Assam,” said Sonowal, adding that the statements had “hurt the sentiments of Assamese people”. (Read this story in Bangla)

Following Sonowal’s direction, a three-member police team was scheduled to leave for Kolkata Friday night.

Chatterjee could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. His mobile phone was switched off, and he did not reply to text messages sent to his Facebook account.

Chatterjee, who describes himself as a “Bengali nationalist” on Twitter, wrote on the micro-blogging site on June 17, “Why does @sarbanandsonwal regularly celebrate a Chinese invader and his invading army? Why does banned separatist group ULFA also celebrate the Chinese invader? Do real Indians know that Indian tax money is being used by BJP in Assam to put up statues of a Chinese invader?”

In another tweet, Chatterjee wrote, “Why do uncivilised Chinese love terrorist Paresh Barua of ULFA so much? What is special relationship between Chinese & Barua? What is the special relationship between China & ULFA? What is common between these anti-Indian forces? Bengalis know bcoz we fought British, ULFA didn’t.”

On June 18, a complaint was lodged in Dibrugarh district against Chatterjee for his tweets. The complainant, Bhaskar Gogoi, wrote that Chatterjee had called Sukapha a “Chinese invader” and maligned the BJP and tried to link the state unit of the party with the banned militant outfit ULFA. The complaint added that such “nefarious misinformation and malignation (sic) will put entire Assamese community at risk”.

Sreejith T, SP of Dibrugarh district, said a case has been registered under Sections 294, 153A, 500, 506 of IPC with Section 67 of IT Act.

The statement from the CM office added that a case against Chatterjee was registered in Crime Branch of Assam Police and four other cases were filed across the state.

Chatterjee had also tweeted a short video clip purportedly showing members of the ABVP’s Assam unit shouting “Indian army go back!” Sharing the clip, Chatterjee tweeted, “”Indian Army Go Back!” slogans raised by ABVP Assam! Will they be booked for sedition. Will ABVP be banned? I ask media to grow a spine and ask these questions.”

State ABVP secretary Rakesh Das, who was present on the occasion, clarified that in the midst of slogans against the Chinese army at the gathering, one slogan was an “inadvertent mistake”. He said he had apologised for the mistake at the spot.

-With inputs from ENS Kolkata

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