Amnesty International, a human rights group has called for the Tamil Nadu government to drop charges and release people arrested for allegedly "spreading rumours" on social media about the health of chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
At least eight people have been arrested and cases were registered against at least 50 for offences including "public mischief" and "intent to cause riot".
In its press release, Amnesty alleged that members of the ruling party were responsible for intimating the police about their activities.
While Apollo Hospital, where Jayalalithaa is receiving treatment, has issued updates on her health, the state government has, until now, not issued any statement regarding the CM.
The police registered a case against him for circulating statements "likely to cause fear or alarm to the public", "promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes" and "provocation with intent to cause riot". If convicted, Satish Kumar could be in prison for over seven years.
Since then, seven others have been arrested in different parts of the state for allegedly "rumour mongering".
â€śThe Tamil Nadu government has a duty and responsibility to maintain law and order in the state. But arresting people for spreading rumours about an important issue â€“ when the government itself has not been forthcoming about this information â€“ is not the solution,â€ť said Makepeace Sitlhou, Campaigner at Amnesty International India in a press release.
Calling for the provision of accurate and timely information to quell rumour mongering, Amnesty International maintains that it is far more constructive instead of attacking free speech and arresting citizens.