Social Media pages under 24/7 Police Scanner after Outcry over Assam Lynching
Social media pages in Assam have come under strict 24/7 police scanner after the mob lynching incident in Karbi Anglong created a furore in India with even international media reporting the incident. The incident has been perceived as a consequence of fake news circulated through social media. After the incident, the social media was also used for spreading hate messages which could have further created a communal law and order situation in the state. Police had to take initiatives to stop such hate messages circulating through social media.
A peaceful public protest in the form of a spontaneous procession taken out last Sunday from Commerce Point and weaving through GNB Road to condemn the mob lynching of two youths from Guwahati, Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath in Karbi Anglong, turned violent at some points of Guwahati.
The police had to chase away the mob brandishing batons which was again criticised as being police atrocities. The city police later addressed the media declaring that any protest without police permission will not be allowed.
Meanwhile, many social media page owners started posting hate messages against a particular community. The police identified the issue which could have led to a communal riot and decided to strictly monitor the social media pages. Even the lynching was perceived to be a consequence of some hoax news circulated through social media about the presence and activities of child lifters in the district of Karbi Anglong.
A senior police official said, “We have started a social media centre not only for monitoring hate message circulation but also for positive results where we can interact with the users.”
The police, through the newly started social media centre, have appealed to the public for information about pages that are circulating hate messages. The public has started sending links of various messages to the police.
Also, with various other tools, the social media team of the Assam police is keeping on monitoring many such pages.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Logistics and Modernization (L&M), Harmeet Singh said, “Tools can never work without human intervention.” The officer did not want to reveal the names of the tools used by the team for security reasons.
The police team comprising around 15 technically savvy personnel identified the profiles and shared the inputs with the local police stations. The police team took action against around 100 profiles that are purportedly spreading hate messages.
The Assam police social media centre is a part of the cyber dome. The police team is keeping strict vigil against persons spreading hate messages and the process will continue.
7 arrested in Ghy, 35 across Assam for spreading hate messages
Till 14th June 2018, 35 persons were arrested across Assam and 7 from Guwahati for spreading hate messages. The arrests were made within 72 hours.
According to a senior police official of the Guwahati police commissionerate one person was arrested from Fatasil, one from Khetri, two from Noonmati, one from Pragjyotishpur and two persons were arrested from Dispur for spreading hate messages.
Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP) of Noonmati, Purabi Majumdar said, “The first arrest was made after people of a particular community filed a complaint with the police and accordingly the person was identified and arrested.” The next arrest in Noonmati was made by taking suo moto cognisance, the ACP revealed.
Similarly, out of the 100 profiles that police took action against, 35 persons were arrested across Assam and the others were provided counselling and minor warnings.
The social media centre is simultaneously reporting the cases to Facebook and Twitter apprising the companies of the malice in such posts, identifying the persons and sharing the details of the persons with the local police so that they can be picked up for arrest or counselling depending on the intensity of hate in the posts.
Assam police social media team not to investigate cyber crime cases
The social media centre which was created after the Karbi Anglong incident will not investigate cyber crime cases.
A source in the police headquarters said, “This team will just monitor the social media pages and if there is any criminal activity suspected, the information will be forwarded to the local police for further investigation and arrests if required.”
The source also revealed that the Facebook and Twitter authorities have been informed about such profiles that are spreading hate messages and requested to delete the accounts. But according to local police sources in Guwahati, more often than not, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter respond very late.
The source in the police headquarters said, “Facebook responds to complaints on terror messages very fast.”
Other than that, Facebook has its own methods of verifying things and responds after their verification and investigation is complete, the source added.
The cyber crime cases in Guwahati, on the other hand, are increasing gradually and according to many complainants, these take time to be solved.
Recently, some police officers in Guwahati were also attacked by cyber criminals and there were instances reported where fake profiles of the police officials were created.