At least eight people were arrested for "disrespecting" General Bipin Rawat, who was killed in last week's helicopter crash and was close to Hindu nationalist PM Narendra Modi, reports say.
India has arrested eight people for sharing "offensive" social media posts about the death of the country's military chief in a helicopter crash, according to officials speaking to AFP news agency and local media reports.
General Bipin Rawat, who was killed along with his wife and 11 others in last week's accident, was a hugely popular figure seen as close to Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
But he also courted controversy, after he presented an award to an officer who tied a civilian in India-administered Kashmir to the front of his military vehicle in a show of force.
In another instance, he claimed India is operating "deradicalisation" camps, sparking fear in Kashmir.
READ MORE: India defence chief, dozen others killed in helicopter crash
Arrests over 'disrespecting' army general
One man was arrested within hours of the chopper crash for posting to Instagram that Rawat had "burnt alive even before entering Jahannum", the Urdu word for hell.
He was arrested along with two others in Rajasthan state for "hurting public sentiment", police confirmed to AFP on Monday.
Five other arrests across India were reported by local media outlets on the weekend.
A bank staffer in India-administered Kashmir's Jammu district was suspended from work after accusations she had reacted to a Facebook news post of Rawat's death with an emoji of a laughing face.
Two people were being investigated in the southern state of Karnataka, where chief minister Basavaraj Bommai ordered the arrest of "perverted minds" who had disrespected the military commander.
Several Muslims arrested and facing sedition charges in India for "celebrating" Pakistan’s T20 World Cup cricket win pic.twitter.com/4w6GKttiIi— TRT World (@trtworld) October 29, 2021
Growing curbs on freedom of speech
Police have arrested hundreds of Indian internet users in recent years, with rights groups sounding the alarm over growing curbs on freedom of speech in the country.
More than a dozen people were arrested in October for celebrating Pakistan's victory over India in a cricket match, with several still in custody after being charged under sedition and anti-terror laws.
Rawat's death comes at a critical time for India, which is embroiled in a months-long standoff with China along with parts of their disputed border.
Tensions also remain high on the heavily-militarised Kashmir frontier where India and Pakistan have deployed tens of thousands of troops.
READ MORE: India arrests Kashmir human rights defender under anti-terror law