Online harassment case: Kerala CM attacks Cong, says social media being used to target opponents
Kasaragod, Sep 23 (PTI) A day after a local Congress functionary was arrested for alleged online harassment of female family members of CPI(M) leaders, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said social media was being misused to target political opponents.
Attacking the Congress, Vijayan, a senior CPI(M) leader, alleged that lakhs of rupees were being spent and special agencies being brought to the state to influence people through social media and even mainstream media.
"Last time (assembly elections), they failed to gain seats. This time, they have come prepared to spread fake news and hurl personal and targeted insults to tarnish the image of their political opponents," Vijayan said during the inauguration of a party building at Trikaripur here.
He also asked CPI(M) workers not to engage in any such online personal attacks and expose those engaged in online harassment. The chief minister also urged them to talk about the development schemes and programmes of the state government.
"Social media is being widely used today. However, we must not lose our civility while using it. Our discourse must be respectful and not aimed at insulting or targeting anyone personally," Vijayan said.
The Kerala Police had on Friday arrested 26-year-old Abin Kodankara, a local Congress youth leader from Parassala in Thiruvananthapuram, who allegedly through a Facebook page 'Kottayam Kunjachan' shared vulgar images of and derogatory comments against family members of some Left leaders.
Referring to the incident, Vijayan said female family members of Left leaders are being targeted online in a vulgar manner.
"Recently, as part of a probe, a Congress leader was arrested and it shows how social media is being misused and lakhs of rupees being spent to attack political opponents," the chief minister said.
In his original Facebook profile, Kodankara identifies himself as the ward president of the Congress and has uploaded numerous images of him with various senior party leaders.
On September 17, Amrutha Satheesan, wife of CPI(M) Rajya Sabha member A A Rahim, had lodged a case against a Facebook page named 'Kottayam Kunjachan', alleging harassment through cyberspace.
The wife of late CPI(M) youth leader P Biju and a woman leader of the party from Palakkad were also subjected to online harassment on the same page. They had also approached police, seeking action against the culprits involved in the criminal acts. PTI RRT ANB ANB