A series of lynching incidents in at least eight States in India which includes Karnataka, Assam, Tripura, Gujarat and Maharashtra – has made the Government sit up and take serious note of the matter.
A Hindustan Times report stated that the Government has expressed its “deep disapproval” to instant messaging service company WhatsApp, over “irresponsible and explosive messages”, warning it to prevent the spread of rumours that have incited several instance of violence in the country in the last two months.
The report further quoted the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as saying in a statement, “While the law and order machinery is taking steps to apprehend the culprits, the abuse of platform like WhatsApp for repeated circulation of such provocative content are equally a matter of deep concern.”
“It has also been pointed out that such a platform cannot evade accountability and responsibility especially when good technological inventions are abused by some miscreants who resort to provocative messages which lead to spread of violence,” the statement said.
It may be recalled that at Panjuri village in Karbi Anglong (in Assam), two youths were pulled out of their car on June 8 last and beaten to death by a frenzied mob on the suspicion that they are
It was a case of innocent blood shed as the youths – Nilotpal Das and Abhijeet Nath (both from Guwahati) were just nature lovers and had gone driving all the way to Karbi Anglong to soak in the beauty of the Kangthilangso waterfall which is a popular picnic spot. It seems that they undertook the 250 km long journey all the way from Guwahati in a black SUV to catch some ornamental fishes for Abhijeet’s aquarium which is found only in the said spot in Karbi Anglong.
Both the friends – while heading deep into the jungle towards Kanthilangso – did not even have the faintest of idea that strong rumour was doing the rounds in the area through social media that child lifters were on the prowl.
The duo was mistaken to be sopadhoras (child lifters) for Nilotpal’s dreadlocks, according to police, and was beaten to death by a 250-strong mob. By the time the police arrived and took them to the hospital, it was too late and they were declared dead.
The incident resulted in a huge public backlash in Assam and Assam Police vowed to take action against rumour mongers and people who are spreading hate messages on social media.
In Tripura, too, mobile Internet and messaging services which were suspended since June 28 last after three lynching incidents in the State were restored on July 2 last.
On June 28 last, a man who was hired by the Tripura Information and Culture Department to spread awareness against rumour-mongering was lynched by a mob at Kalachhara in South Tripura district. On the very same day, a hawker from Uttar Pradesh and an unidentified woman were beaten to death on suspicion of being child-lifters in West Tripura.