Even as the nation mourned the death of General Bipin Rawat and others in a helicopter crash, derogatory comments about him led to arrests in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh while a filmmaker in Kerala said he was renouncing Islam in protest against those who indulged in `jubilation' over the tragedy.
In Karnataka, home minister Araga Jnanendra directed police to track down the "anti-national" persons who posted objectionable comments about the late Chief of Defence Staff, and "punish them befitting their distorted minds."
In Bharuch district of Gujarat, one Firoz Diwan was arrested on Friday for allegedly using objectionable words about Gen Rawat in his comment on a Facebook post by another user who paid tributes to Rawat.
Diwan was booked for "hurting the feelings of people and Armed Forces" under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections including 153 (giving provocation with intention to cause riot), 153 (B) (imputations prejudicial to national integration) and 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace).
India's first Chief of Defence Staff Gen Rawat and his wife Madhulika were killed along with 11 others in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on December 8.
In Madhya Pradesh's Khandwa district, one Durgesh Vaskele was arrested on Saturday for an objectionable post on Facebook under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups) and 153(B).
In his post, Vaskele, said to be a member of an outfit called Jai Adivasi Yuva Shakti, allegedly wrote, "You have killed our 14 people, in return nature swallowed your 13 soldiers," apparently referring to the death of 14 civilians in Nagaland in firing by the security forces.
Local BJP MLA from Pandhana, Ram Dangore, had earlier demanded action against Vaskele, while opposition Congress alleged that a local head of "BJP IT cell" had endorsed Vaskele's Facebook post and asked why he was being spared.
Elsewhere, Malayalam film director and Sangh Parivar fellow traveler Ali Akbar announced that he and his wife were giving up Islam in protest against a section of social media users who allegedly indulged in jubilation over Rawat and others' death.
"I am not a Muslim from today onwards. I am an Indian," the film maker said, slamming those who put smiley emoticons below news reports related to the death of General Rawat. He could not stand with the "anti-nationals" anymore, Akbar said in a video posted on social media on Friday.
Karnataka Home Minister Araga Jnanendra asked the state Director General of Police to identify and punish those who post derogatory remarks on social media against Rawat and other victims of the helicopter crash.
"Find out the residential addresses of those criminals who post such remarks on social media celebrating the death of the proud son of India, as they are anti-nationals, and punish them befitting their distorted minds," the minister said.