The five persons detained in Maharashtra's Kolhapur for allegedly keeping offensive social media account status and an image of 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan were college-going minors and a probe was underway to find what or who prompted them to indulge in such an act, a senior police official said on Thursday.
Kolhapur city in western Maharashtra saw violent protests from right-wing outfits on Wednesday over some persons keeping an image of Tipu Sultan and an offensive audio message as their social media status.
"Two cases were filed in the city in regard to the objectionable posts and five youths were detained. All these youths are minors and college-going students. We are finding out whom they are associated with and who provoked them to keep such a status," Kolhapur superintendent of police Mahendra Pandit said.
"Their phones have been seized and are being analysed. As per preliminary information provided by these five, they had copied each other's social media status and used it for their accounts. Moreover, initial probe hints at videos being downloaded from the internet," the SP told a press conference.
The SP also said the youth had an inkling of trouble ahead as they had deleted their social media accounts around the time when some persons approached the police over the objectionable status.
"We are trying to retrieve the app and data to find out where they got the videos. As of now, we cannot say whether they were provoked. We are also investigating some social media accounts that are trying to set a particular narrative. Details like who these belong to, when they were created, mobile numbers they are associated with are being ascertained," Pandit informed.
In connection with the violence that took place at Shivaji Chowk on Wednesday, three cases have been registered against 300-400 persons, and 36 persons have been rounded up, while three juveniles have been detained, the SP said.
CCTV clips from the area were being checked to identify those who indulged in stone pelting and a probe is also underway to see if provocative speeches were made during the agitation, he said.
The internet service shutdown, which was put in place as a precautionary measure, will be in effect till midnight (Thursday-Friday), the SP informed.
Queried about a stone pelting incident in Wadange village, Pandit said he had visited the site on Wednesday night and efforts were on to nab those involved.