The Hi-Tech Crime enquiry cell of the Kerala police, that was created to address cyber crimes, has reportedly warned a Facebook group called "Outspoken," that publishes memes.
In a Facebook post on Friday, Outspoken published a screenshot of a message they received from the Hi-Tech cell, warning them against posting memes insulting the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Outspoken is a troll page affiliated to the right and was started to counter other Malayalam troll pages that consistently took on the BJP and Sangh Parivar.
According to the message, Hi-Tech cell was acting on a complaint they received against posts published by Outspoken, that seemingly 'insulted the CM'. Pointing out that the Facebook group was entitled to be penalized under the Information Technology Act, Kerala Police Act and various sections of the IPC, they asked Outspoken to remove the insulting posts. The Facebook group has also been asked to reveal the source of the content. However, it is not clear who the complainant was, and whether the complainant had taken objection to one or more posts.
A particular meme reportedly published by the page with vulgar and derogatory content has been doing the rounds on social media, with many pointing out that such memes were unacceptable.
The admins of Outspoken have however come down heavily on the police action, terming it an act of a fascist government.
"The trolls from Outspoken are not just mere trolls, they have now begun to disturb the conscience of many. Apparently a complaint has been sent to the Kerala police against our memes on Pinarayi Vijayan and the police have taken prompt action. We feel pity thinking about the police. When there are more pressing issues ranging from crimes against women to robbery, the police seem to have devoted their time to dealing with internet memes against the CM," the post reads.
"If one is not able to take memes in good humour, is it not intolerance? Don't we have the freedom to troll? People from Gandhi to PM have been trolled and nobody showed intolerance then. But when a CM is trolled, all hell breaks loose," they said.
Speaking to The News Minute, Hiran Venugopalan, an admin of International Chalu Union said, a popular FB page said, "We are against censorship of any sort. But we have our ethics and a policy when it comes to publishing memes on ICU page. For instance, we don't encourage posts against the LGBTQ+ community or on reservation or ones which have sexual undertones. We won't encourage posts that insults a person, we ensure the political posts are against policy or attitude and not against a person. Having said this, I must add that censorship of any nature is not good."
With little clarity on which post the complaint was against, Hiran added, "As of now, we do not know if the complaint is against the page or a particular post they shared. Even while creating political memes, it is important to ensure that we do not end up targeting a person."
Outspoken, however, said that they would continue to publish memes. Soon, the Facebook page was flooded with memes, taking on the Chief Minister's "faint heartedness."
Meme 1: Scene from Kireedam.
The scene where actor Thilakan, who plays Mohanlal's father asks the latter to "drop the knife" in the iconic Malayalam film "Kireedam", was once again recreated.
In this meme, Thilakan (Pinarayi) says: "It's your CM who is saying, stop trolling...stop trolling."
Police man (Kerala police): "If someone asks what happened to Pinarayi, who is not intimidated by Indran and Chandran..."
Fahadh Fazil (Outspoken): "Say that Outspoken people trolled him."
Meme 3: Any scene from Nivin Pauly's Action Hero Biju is always the perfect recipe for memes!
Communist: "Isn't it wrong to troll a Chief Minister who rules the entire state?"
Nivin Pauly (Sanghi): "Didn't you all support when our PM, who works day and night for the country, was trolled? After all, Pinarayi has done nothing for the state.
Kerala police: "We have told them not to troll you. We have scared them by saying that we will file case against them if they do so."
Pinarayi: "Great! What did they say? They must have been really scared."
Kerala police: "They asked what was wrong in trolling a person who became a CM by cheating an old man (Achuthanandan). They have now started publishing more memes."
Pinarayi: "Who trolled me on Facebook? Tell me, who trolled me?"
Outspoken: "We are trolling you, after being fed up of your governance."