A couple of days after the nationwide raids on the premises of Popular Front of India (PFI) functionaries and the subsequent ban on the organisation and its associates/affiliates/fronts, the Union government sent out an advisory that there has been a significant increase in the posting of communally provocative content on social media platforms.
Pointing out that the overall Hindu-Muslim communal scenario strained in several States owing to various reasons, the Centre urged States to take effective steps to curb the misuse of cyberspace by miscreants to stoke communal passions by circulating provocative messages/photos/videos.
The security advisory called for taking down such objectionable content and blocking user accounts by following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). It underlined the need for enhanced vigil and heightened security arrangements at communally hyper-sensitive and sensitive locations, police sources told The Hindu on Thursday.
With the ongoing festival season, security agencies were told to focus on venues of Durga Puja, ‘Ravan Dahan’ and ‘Garba’ events and organisers of these programmes advised not to use high-decibel music and avoid raising provocative slogans or playing songs that could trigger communal friction. The threat perceptions emanating from terrorist organisations, including the al-Qaeda, to launch attacks targeting VIPs and vital installations remained, the sources quoting the advisory said.
Asked for his comments, Tamil Nadu Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu said ‘Social Media Monitoring Cells’ and ‘Cyber Forensic Cells’ were established in all cities/districts in the State to check and block communally sensitive or any other objectionable content posted on social media platforms.
Referring to the riots in Kallakurichi, Tamil Nadu, triggered by the death of a school girl, Dr. Babu said 39 YouTube channels were blocked, some of them permanently. The State police were in constant touch with nodal officers appointed by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to coordinate with the law-enforcing agencies. Adequate security arrangements were in place to protect prominent personalities and important establishments of the Central and State governments, the DGP said.