Virtual world abuzz with ‘hate’ posts, cops work overtime to trace, delete speech on social media

In the last three months alone, the intelligence wing of the Mumbai police, that has a dedicated cyber unit, has deleted 778 posts which were ‘inciting’ in nature

Written by Rashmi Rajput | Mumbai | Published: April 13, 2015 1:53:29 am

From taking a dig at Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) ambitious project of ‘Ghar Wapasi’ to lambasting the BJP government for failing to protect the interests of the minority community, the virtual world is abuzz with ‘hate posts’ with the Mumbai police working over time policing cyber world.

In the last three months alone, the intelligence wing of the Mumbai police, that has a dedicated cyber unit, has deleted 778 posts which were ‘inciting’ in nature. This already exceeds half the number of posts that were deleted in 2014. Last year, the police had deleted 1,151 posts from various social networking sites and websites.

“The posts were put up using graphical representations of religious figures to take potshots on issues which have a communal colour. Of the 778 posts deleted more than half were to incite religious hatred. Many used prominent religious figures to ridicule the ‘Ghar Wapsi’ exercise undertaken by the VHP or the recent incidents of attack on minorities,” a senior official told The Indian Express.

“We suspect the intention was to create communal unrest. Derogatory posts on religious figures or prominent leaders are emotive issues and can spark off riots,” added the police officer.

In 2014, western Maharashtra had faced riots across major districts after derogatory pictures of Maratha king Shivaji, late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and objectionable pictures of Dalit leader Babasaheb Ambedkar went viral on a social networking site last year. The post also led to the killing of a young techie, Mohsin Shaikh from Pune allegedly by Hindu extremists.

One of the challenges that the police faces to tame the digital space is the failure to locate the culprits as most of them use proxy serves. “Many of the posts do not originate from India. Its a mammoth task to locate the miscreant as we have to send out letters to the websites or the social networking platforms which consumes a lot of time,” explained the sources.

The police filters content based on names of iconic personalities, deities, prominent politicians and sensitive topics. “We bifurcate the content into various heads like politics, religion, key figures, events and anything that is objectionable is pulled off immediately,” added the source. Owing to the major threat posed by the cyber world , Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had recently sanctioned Rs 50 crore to strengthen the cyber crime cells of the Maharashtra police.

rashmi.rajput@expressindia.com

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