Another man arrested for posting 'insulting' statement against UP CM Adityanath

Yogi Adityanath's anti-Islam image raises questions about the arrests of two Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, a northern state of India that has an entrenched religious fault line. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Sambhal, Uttar Pradesh, India Mar 25, 2017, 08.44 AM (IST)

It has barely been a fortnight for the new administration of Hindu hardliner Yogi Adityanath in India's bellwether state but the state machinery is in full swing to arrest people making defamatory attacks against the state's new chief minister on social media.

Shahzad Akram is the second person in as many days to be arrested for putting up a Facebook post against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, the New Indian Express reported.

Akram was arrested for promoting enmity between groups and for making intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of police, according to the charges filed by the police in Sambhal, a town in India's northern state.

On Friday, a 24-year-old named Rahat Khan was detained for posting an obscene picture of the new chief minister. 

Adityanath's appointment as the chief minister of India's largest and most populous state has vexed the moderates in India. They fear his elevation might foment trouble on religious lines in north India.

The five-time lawmaker has always been in the news for making divisive speeches, often targeting Muslims. The controversial priest-politician has often stoked communal tension in the country, and also made inflammatory statements during his election campaign in the state.

The New York Times, in an opinion piece, voiced similar concerns by dubbing him as a "firebrand Hindu cleric" and called his appointment to the state's top post as a "shocking rebuke to religious minorities" -- an editorial piece that was rebuked by the Indian government. 

Reports of people being put behind bars for posting seemingly questionable statements against politicians on social media is not unprecedented in India, but the arrests of two Muslims has given the moderates in the country another reason to worry about the fledgling government.