The Maharashtra government is considering action against not only those who post objectionable posts on social networking sites like Facebook but also those who "like" and forward them, Home Minister R.R. Patil warned in Mumbai Monday.
The minister's stern comment came in the wake of violence following certain insulting posts by unidentified persons on Facebook last week and the killing of a techie in Pune as a fall-out.
Pune, Kolhapur, Nashik and certain parts of Mumbai were affected by violence and shutdowns on account of the Facebook posts and pictures showing Chhatrapati Shivaji and Shiv Sena founder-supremo Bal Thackeray in a bad light.
As a reaction to the Facebook posts, suspected activists of a Mumbai-based rightwing outfit, Hindu Rashtra Sena, clobbered to death techie Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh in Pune.
On Sunday, there was minor trouble in several cities in the state following similar derogatory posts of B.R. Ambedkar on Facebook.
Patil pointed out that social networking media is used around the world for good purposes.
"However, certain anti-social elements are using (social networking sites) for sinister purposes as is evident from the recent incidents in Maharashtra," Patil said.
Also, those who "like" and forward such objectionable material are in a manner endorsing these culprits and would face stringent action soon.
"People react to all this on social media which is being misused extensively... Nobody will be able to claim that someone else misused his or her mobile as the responsibility vests with the owner of the mobile," Patil said.
Terming as rumours certain reports claiming that the Centre had rejected the state government's report on Shaikh's killing, the minister said the victim (Shaikh) was an innocent target who had nothing to do with the objectionable Facebook posts.
The violence and the subsequent killing of Shaikh has prompted demands, including from state Minority Affairs Minister Naseem Khan, to ban HRS from various quarters.
The police have so far arrested 19 people in connection with Shaikh's killing in Hadapsar late last Monday when he was going home from work.