Nagaland Home Commissioner Abhishek Singh today said while the State Administration has geared up for conduct of free and fair polls on February 27 next for the Nagaland State Legislative Assembly, it is being observed that certain vested interests and antisocial elements are indulging in spreading of rumours that can result in causing unrest and tension amongst various communities.
In an official release, Singh said that all concerned are hereby warned that anyone indulging in spreading of rumours through any means which can cause unrest in the Society will be dealt severely with the appropriate section of law. Spreading of rumours through WhatsApp or Social Media is also a criminal act and such offences are classified as Public Mischief is punishable as per Section 505 of Indian Penal Code, he added.
Singh said that the relevant clauses of Section 505 (1) are (a) whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report, (b) with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility or (c) With intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
In 505 (2), whoever makes, publishes, or circulates any statement or report containing rumour or alarming news with intent to create or promote, or which is likely to create or promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both, he said.
Singh said that the above clauses will also be applicable if anyone uses WhatsApp or Social Media for spreading rumours. All are requested to refrain from forwarding any messages, photographs or videos that have not been verified independently.
Police and the Law Enforcement agencies are making all possible efforts to ensure a safe, secure, free and fair election and he solicited the cooperation for all to ensure that these Elections are the cleanest of all Election, the release said.