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  India   All India  06 Jul 2018  Mob lynching fuelled by social media must end: Govt to states

Mob lynching fuelled by social media must end: Govt to states

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jul 6, 2018, 6:00 am IST
Updated : Jul 6, 2018, 6:00 am IST

Recently, two people were killed in Tripura and the same number in Assam on suspicion of child-lifting.

Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (Photo: PTI/File)
 Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (Photo: PTI/File)

New Delhi: Concerned over incidents of mob lynching mostly fuelled by rumours of child-lifting, the home ministry on Thursday directed states and Union Territories (UTs) to put an end to such incidents by putting in place adequate preventive measures.

In the last few months more than 20 people have been killed by a mob in separate incidents with the latest being reported from Maharashtra’s Dhule district where five tribals were lynched on suspicion of being child-lifters. Recently, two people were killed in Tripura and the same number in Assam on suspicion of child-lifting. In a similar incident in Chennai, two workers involved in a metro rail project were beaten by a mob when they stopped to play with some children. The crowd raised an alarm suspecting them to be child-lifters.

In its advisory the ministry has asked the states to ensure that a proper watch is kept so that such rumours of child-lifting can be detected at the earliest so that proper measures can be initiated to counter them.

“All states and UTs have been asked to keep a watch on social media from where such rumours normally originate resulting in incidents of mob lynching. We have directed that states to specially identify and keep a watch on the vulnerable areas so that community awareness programmes can be conducted as a confidence building exercise and such incidents can be prevented in future,” a senior ministry official said.

States have been specifically directed to initiate thorough investigations into cases of child kidnapping and keep the concerned families or communities informed about them.

The Centre on Tuesday had asked social media messenger WhatsApp to initiate immediate measures to stop the spread of  “irresponsible and explosive messages’’ claiming that even the social media platform cannot evade its responsibility. WhatsApp was asked to immediately check further distribution of such messages or rumours on its platform.

Even IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had stressed on the need for greater accountability from social media platforms claiming that putting in place a technological mechanism to check spreading of such messages on a particular issue in a particular locality was no rocket science.

In its response WhatsApp had clarified that while it has the capacity to check spam but content of private messages can be blocked only on the basis of a user report. It had also claimed that cases of fake news, misinformation, and hoaxes can be prevented if government, civil society and technology companies work together.

Tags: mob lynching, ravi shankar prasad, home ministry, social media
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi