Police sound alert, watch real and virtual world

Keeping vigil: Security personnel at Mumbai airport after Article 370 was withdrawn on Monday.

Keeping vigil: Security personnel at Mumbai airport after Article 370 was withdrawn on Monday.  

Patrolling stepped up in sensitive areas

A state of general alert has been declared by the police across Maharashtra in light of the ongoing developments in Jammu & Kashmir. Mumbai Police officials said particular attention is being paid to social media platforms, as a number of radical opinions are being shared about the issue, some of them by prominent personalities.

Amidst rising tension in Jammu & Kashmir following the increase in military presence and tweets from leaders like Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti claiming house arrest, the Central government on Monday proposed the abrogation of Article 370, which grants special status to the region. This announcement sparked off waves of reactions both in support and against it.

‘Talk to leaders, citizens’

Senior police officers said the entire State had been put on alert ever since matters started escalating, both in Jammu & Kashmir and on the internet. “We had already instructed police stations concerned to ensure security in areas where Kashmiri natives are staying, and patrolling was stepped up on Monday. Personnel have also been instructed to keep in touch with community leaders and citizen volunteers in their respective jurisdictions so that any brewing problems can be nipped in the bud,” a senior officer said.

The social media teams of the Mumbai and Maharashtra police have been keeping a close eye on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp to check for any potentially inflammatory content being posted, whether in the form of opinions or rumours.

‘Problematic comments’

“The cause for concern in this day and age is not just opinions expressed by people on their own profiles but also replies on opinions from prominent personalities, such as actors. These range from problematic to downright abusive and spark off separate threads, which are also being monitored,” an officer from the Mumbai Police said.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp, too, is rife with such posts and all personnel have been instructed to monitor content being circulated on the network closely. Even if tracing the source of a particular message is next to impossible, steps can definitely be taken to curb its circulation, the officer said.

The police are also following up on any attempts at rumour mongering.

On Sunday, a satire account on Twitter posted a picture of actor Maisie Williams in her role as Arya Stark from popular television series Game Of Thrones. One of the seasons shows Ms. Williams’ character blinded and the user uploaded a picture of the blind Arya Stark saying she was a Kashmiri girl blinded by pellet guns used by the Indian Army.

Despite the user’s bio clearly indicating that it was a parody account, the tweet was picked up by several other Twitter users, who were quick to decry the Indian Army and the government.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 10:29:21 AM |

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