The Anna Hazare-led mass movement has made the Mumbai police wake up to the power of the Internet and social media as a powerful means of communication.
The police, heavily dependent on traditional methods of gathering intelligence, were caught off guard as Team Anna and their supporters used unconventional methods to mobilise the masses for the movement. Popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, were used extensively by Hazare’s supporters, to organise public gatherings.
A senior official from the Special Branch (SB) - the intelligence wing of the Mumbai police, requesting anonymity, said that within the SB, a special cell has been created solely to keep a tab on social networking sites. The SB’s main job is to collect plans of agitations, activities of trade/workers unions and the like. The staff will open accounts in these sites. They will then pose as supporters of the movement, when required.
Additional commissioner of police, SB, Sunil Parakshar, claimed that the department has fashioned itself to meet all demands. “Even drug parties are communicated by abusing the medium,” Parakshar said, refusing to elaborate the how his banch would penetrate the internet. “We could bust many such parties, by being well entrenched in the internet.”