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Cops to track social media posts ahead of Ayodhya order

By HT Correspondent, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON NOV 07, 2019 12:19 AM IST

The Maharashtra cyber police has formed a special team to monitor social media platforms to ensure no inflammatory comments or messages are circulated ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case. The verdict is expected before Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, retires on November 17.

The state cyber department will gather intelligence inputs and report to the concerned state police if any inflammatory posts. “Our team comprises 10 officers and men from the Maharashtra cyber cell. We will be monitoring all social media platforms to ensure they are not misused to spread rumours, create tension between religions or groups, hate speeches to incite violence, etc. We may book offenders who attempt to disrupt law and order,” said Brijesh Singh, special inspector general, Maharashtra cyber cell. The team will operate from a social media lab housed at the World Trade Centre at Cuffe Parade, with a panel of technical experts to assist them.

“We have been given certain keywords that we will use to identify troublemakers. We have identified some individuals who indulge in such activities,” said a member of the team.

Dr Balsing Rajput, superintendent, Maharashtra cyber cell, said, “Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, messaging apps, and video sharing platforms will be under our scanner.” When asked if the privacy of any individual will be comprised in this process, Rajput said, “We will observe the posts in public domain. We do not intend to monitor personal chats in close groups or invade anyone’s privacy.”

Rajput also clarified that the special team will not look into individual opinions or political commentary on various issues.“Our monitoring will be restricted strictly to the posts having potential to incite violence or spread communal hatred and to control the spread of fake news,” he said.

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