Dozens detained in India over social media comments after Babri Mosque

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New Delhi/Ayodhya

Dozens of people in India have been detained on suspicion of publishing inflammatory social media posts and setting off celebratory firecrackers after the Supreme Court ruled to give a disputed religious site to Hindus, police said on Sunday. The statement added that authorities had acted against more than 8,270 posts, with steps including “reporting the posts to the social media platform” and “directly messaging the user to delete the message”.
Most of the content targeted more than 2,800 posts was on Twitter. There were 1,355 allegedly inflammatory comments on Facebook, and 98 YouTube videos, authorities said. Eight other arrests were reported in the central state of Madhya Pradesh for social media comments. A jail warden in the city of Gwalior was also arrested for celebrating with fireworks after Hindus were awarded the site.
The court awarded the bitterly contested site in the northern town of Ayodhya to Hindus on Saturday, dealing a defeat to Muslims who also claim the land that has sparked some of the country’s bloodiest riots since independence. In 1992, a Hindu mob destroyed the 16th-century Babri Mosque on the site, triggering riots in which about 2,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed.
No major violence was reported after the ruling over the weekend. Authorities said they were showing a “zero tolerance approach” towards potentially inflammatory content on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. About 77 people were arrested as of late Sunday in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state and the site of the contested land, state police said on Sunday.
Police have acted upon 8,275 social media posts across the state by either reporting them to the platform or asking users to delete them, the police said in a press note issued late on Sunday.—INP