Monday, 30th October 2017

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Case against Assam researcher Rehna over 2017 post on beef

She said it was a conspiracy by a section of people for welfare work she has done for those given NRC reverification notices

By Raja Das in Guwahati
  • Published 14.08.19, 11:17 PM
  • Updated 15.08.19, 3:29 AM
  • 2 mins read
Rehna, a resident of Boko in Kamrup district, is doing research on the language of sar areas in Assam Facebook, rehna.sultana.5

An FIR was filed by the city police against a Gauhati University research scholar on Wednesday over a 2017 Facebook post, whose screenshot has recently been shared widely on social media.

Rehna, a resident of Boko in Kamrup district, is doing research on the language of sar areas in Assam.

The post, originally in Assamese, said, “Today, we are also participating in Pakistan’s joy by gorging on beef! What I eat depends on my tastebuds! However, don’t make yourselves the subject of controversy simply by talking about the taboo subject of beef,” referring to India’s loss to archrivals Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.

“We have filed an FIR against the research scholar this morning as a screenshot of her 2017 Facebook post related to Pakistan and beef was extensively shared on social media recently,” said an officer of Jalukbari police outpost here.

He said the accused had not been arrested yet. “We have sent the FIR copy to Jalukbari police station so that the arrest warrant can be released,” he said.

Another officer said, “We filed the FIR after the post went viral. However, we do not only file FIRs against posts which go viral, but we also monitor any controversial post.”

Asked if any action had been taken in 2017 over the post, the officer said, “The post did not come to our notice then. Now it has come to our notice as the screenshot of the post was shared widely on social media.”

Guwahati police commissioner Deepak Kumar said, “We are investigating the matter."

“The post is nearly two years old against which no action was taken then,” said Rehna over phone. She said the original post was deleted within five minutes.

“The post was completely sarcastic in nature to release the frustration at the loss of India to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy two years back, which was immediately deleted after protests from friends. But it is unfortunate that the screenshot of the same post was circulated with a modified content and out of context,” said a statement issued by Rehna in the evening.

She alleged that it was a conspiracy by a section of people for carrying out welfare activities related to the National Register of Citizens, on the eve of Independence Day.

Rehna has been actively involved in managing and helping applicants in lower Assam who have been issued NRC re-verification notices to appear for hearing within 24 to 48 hours in faraway Upper Assam towns. “The post was filled with sarcasm that was overlooked by most people. It may be a conspiracy of a section as she is actively involved helping people who are in distress after receiving notices for NRC hearing," said a friend.

“Rehna already has three FIRs against her on the issue of Miyah poetry movement. Now this is the fourth case lodged against her,” he said.

University vice-chancellor Mridul Hazarika said, “We must not act impulsively. We should act with restraint and care while using social media. Once we go through the entire matter (as the post is over two years old), we can take a stand.”

President of the university’s ABVP unit, Arunabh Barman, said, “This is not a healthy sign for institutions like Gauhati University whose research scholars make such controversial statements. The university authority must immediately clarify its stand on such activities by its students.”