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Social media messages fuelled protest

A candlelight protest at the Delhi Police Headquarters on Tuesday .

A candlelight protest at the Delhi Police Headquarters on Tuesday .   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

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They exhorted everyone to assemble at Delhi Police’s ITO headquarters

“Do or die... I am going for the protest, who else is coming?” read one of the several messages circulated via social media apps, as scores of police personnel gathered outside the Delhi Police Headquarters on Tuesday morning in solidarity with their colleagues attacked by protesting lawyers.

Most of the protesters said they learnt about the protest through police family welfare groups on WhatsApp and Telegram messaging applications. These groups have more than 5,000 members. The messages, including text, audio and video clips, exhorted all police personnel to assemble at the police headquarters at ITO in support of Delhi Police’s “honour and dignity”. The messages, first circulated around 4 p.m. on Monday, permeated several police groups on social media within hours. They urged for a peaceful gathering, warning that any kind of violence would “derail the movement”.

A policeman said that after the video of one of their colleagues being thrashed by a lawyer at the Saket courts went viral on their police WhatsApp groups, a lot of angry reactions started pouring in. “Why was a policeman on an official visit to Saket courts singled out and thrashed? I have come here to support my colleague because it might happen to me too someday,” said the policeman.

 

Bhola Singh, a traffic policeman, said that he expressed his wish to join the protest to his reporting officer and the latter did not stop him. “Senior officers have always given orders but never listened to our grievances. Lawyers and politicians treat us very badly. Being a disciplined force, we have always follow orders but that doesn’t mean people can humiliate us,” said Mr. Singh.

Initially around 50 policemen reached ITO in the morning and started posting selfies and photos on social media. These motivated other policemen to join the protest.

By 11 a.m., traffic movement from ITO towards Ring Road was blocked.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 9:49:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/social-media-messages-fuelled-protest/article29892350.ece

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