False online messages lead to tension during communal riots in Madhya Pradesh

  • Shams Ur Rehman Alavi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: May 01, 2015 18:31 IST

In riot-like situations, police at times face false propaganda on social media that can affect law-and-order situation and communal harmony in Madhya Pradesh.

During the communal clash in Jawad in Neemuch district earlier this month, a morphed image of injured persons in some other place and incident had gone viral on social media leading to alarm, said local residents.

IG Ujjain V Madhu Kumar said that the issue had come to the notice of police.

“The photo was false and had nothing to do with any incident in Neemuch. We took action in this case. A person was also arrested from Ratlam,” he said.

Activist Upasana Behar says that canards are increasingly being spread on social media and people fail to verify their authenticity before reacting.

“There should be strict action on any such rumour mongering on social media,” said Behar, who represents a social organization Nagric Adhikar Manch, a social organisation.

“Whenever there is online mischief, it is important to react and warn the rumour-mongers because such messages affect law-and-order on the ground,” said a police officer posted in Bhopal district, who is not authorized to speak to the media.

Activist Abdul Jabbar said that ‘objectionable’ content is being posted, photographs of one place and incident shared and passed off as those of another with the aim to create discord in society, which may lead to conflicts.

“Police officials should take action in these cases,” Jabbar added.

DIG (intelligence) Makrand Deouskar said that action has been taken in cases where online posts can lead to panic.

“In such cases, we get cases registered and we rely mostly on traditional media viz. electronic and print to counter any wrong propaganda,” he said.

The district police chief (superintendent of police) is alerted by us and they also take action against such mischief-mongers, Deouskar added.

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