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District police chiefs have been told to submit fortnightly reports on findings. (Representational)

Imphal:

Manipur Police has directed all district police chiefs to set up social media cells that can monitor various online platforms for any “unlawful content” that could have “detrimental effects on law and order”.

The directive comes against the backdrop of the detention of activist Leichombam Erendro and journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem under the National Security Act (NSA) over a remark on Facebook following the death of former state BJP chief Saikhom Tikendra Singh. While Mr Erendro has been released on bail following a Supreme Court order, Mr Wangkhem continues to remain in prison.

In the order sent to July 15 to Superintendents of Police in all districts, the Additional DGP, Manipur (Intelligence), has told them to “continuously monitor all posts/uploads/comments posted in all dialects of Manipur” and submit a fortnightly report on the findings to him.

The Manipur Police set up its social media cell in 2020 following an order from the Director General of Police.

“In recent times, various unlawful content is being published in social media platforms and they are circulating false and fabricated things to create confusion among the citizens. So, we have decided to check every activity on social media to control such malicious and unlawful content,” said a senior police officer.

In the circular, district police chiefs were asked to establish the social media monitoring cells “immediately” if they had not done so earlier. The circular also said “prompt legal action should be taken whenever required”.

Mr Erendro and Mr Wangkhem were arrested in May for a Facebook comment after the former state BJP chief died of Covid. “Cow dung and cow urine don’t work,” they had remarked.

Following a complaint by Manipur BJP vice-president Usham Deban and general secretary P Premananda Meetei, they were arrested and later charged under the stringent NSA.

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