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Bengaluru violence and the social media: It’s time we clicked with responsibility

How an individual packages information on social media leaves an immediate impact on the societal fabric, so there is a line that needs to be drawn in discourse on sensitive issues and direct attacks.

Written by Kanishka Singh | Published: September 13, 2016 1:51 pm
cauvery, cauvery water dispute, bangalore violence, bengaluru violence, kaveri, karnataka, bengaluru cauvery water dispute, karnataka cauvery water dispute, water dispute, supreme court cauvery water dispute, india news Glass panes of a restaurant, run by people from neighboring Tamil Nadu state, lie shattered after it was vandalized by a mob during violence in Bangalore, Karnataka state. (PTI Photo)

Can social media add fuel to a riot? Well, this questions has raised its head again in the aftermath of the violence in Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka. And we can all agree that non-judicious use of social media can contribute to a situation of unrest. However, we also need to accept that allowing a free hand to people to want to retaliate violently against social media posts is a situation of equal concern as well.

How an individual packages information on social media leaves an immediate impact on the societal fabric, so there is a line that needs to be drawn in discourse on sensitive issues and direct attacks. Recently, Bengaluru-based engineering student Santosh D was thrashed for posting derogatory comments against some Kannada actors on social media for protesting against the Supreme Court’s directive on the Cauvery river water issue. After the 22-year-old’s post went viral, he was tracked down by a bunch of locals to his college located in a Bengaluru suburb and beaten up. The assault was filmed and the video was posted online, resulting in more violence.

In stark contrast, the state police has been using the online domain to advise people on the situation on the ground and to help them avoid unrest hit areas. Some individuals have even created a Google Map highlighting areas suffering from protests and riots in Bengaluru city.

The Supreme Court on Monday modified its earlier directive to the Karnataka government to release a quantum of 15,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu over a period of 10 days. The apex court has now directed the government to release 12,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu per day till September 20 this year. What followed the order was a string of protests from various Kannada groups. Several incidents of violence and vandalism accompanied a shutdown.

In court, the Karnataka government contended that the agitation by farmers, particularly in South Karnataka, is causing a loss of Rs 500 crore per day to the state. Farmers in districts of Hassan, Mandya and Bengaluru have been squatting on roads demanding that the quantum of water for dry crops in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu be equalled.

In this backdrop, the Cauvery water dispute has commanded public attention. Social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, has become the battleground for thousands of people who dare not step on to the troubled streets. In cosmopolitan Bengaluru, the two sides have gone head-to-head offline and online. Hundreds of hate comments on these platforms have inevitably drawn a spree of trolling and done little to ease the tension.

Social media has long transformed from a bubble to an extension of our personal space, only with a much larger audience. With opinions and reactions tending towards the extremes, passions run high on online communities. So the free hand afforded to individuals raises questions of accountability and responsible conduct. While Bengaluru Police has maintained that derogatory comments in the matter of Cauvery unrest will not be taken lightly, no complaints were filed against Santosh or his assaulters.

Social media has been full of visuals showing the situation on the ground in Bengaluru, with videos of vandalism and violence. While it is easy to share stuff without double checking the authenticity or gauging the impact, prudent behaviour would be exercise more responsibility with each click on a social platform, especially when things are going awry outside.

Like in the case of the Bangalore Police, social media and the Internet have proved to be a tool for empowerment of the people struggling from the state’s apathy towards ensuring basic rights. However, the onus has to rest on the individual to avoid flaring emotions that escalate unrest.

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More From Kanishka Singh
  1. A
    Sep 13, 2016 at 12:21 pm
    That fellow Santosh who posted derogatory facebook posting and the root cause for all this violence should be immediately arrested and sent to imprisonment for 25 years. Then only people will understand the sensible use of social media.
    1. H
      Himanshu Himanshu
      Sep 13, 2016 at 10:06 am
      Social media or any other media for that matter is only a medium and we cannot ban it for long as desire to express oneself will find other means.lt;br/gt;I have lived though the mid 80s, and early 90s to know very well that even in the days of no social media and only state run TV and radio stations, perpetrators of hate and violence found a way and caused the most violent riots since early independence.lt;br/gt;Rather I would say that via social media, at least the voices of sanity have a platform. It is the same media that can tell people what is really happening on the ground and how to help improve the situation. There is no point in arguing for a ban. Rather there could be some mechanism for policing. So we may put up a cyber cell that can block certain kind of messages. If there is a news of a picture or video, block that one or videos and pictures in general. Block all other messages, except for the ones from government agencies for a short period and request people to refrain from forwarding anything may incite violence. Ask people to come forward and report such messages to that those only get blocked. We have to be more
      1. Guru Balakrishnan,
        Sep 13, 2016 at 9:56 am
        River waters - one need to realize can never be steady ever - if any one thinks it should be steady - You fool yourself!lt;br/gt;God gave man some Wisdom.lt;br/gt;Wisdom is to think ‘alternatives’; alternatives never means same ends like.lt;br/gt;Farmers need to think ‘crop rotations’;lt;br/gt;Politicians need to think if they have some Wisdom. If not the politicians are the worst fools, the voters need to realize. Never elect them back.lt;br/gt;See what ‘alternative’ one can think of, when ‘rains’ fail. Rains might fail. After all , very politicians are the cause.lt;br/gt;See if you destroy ‘forests’s or reduce hills or mountains into ‘rubble’ for gravels or for you construction activities mindlessly, naturally, rains will fail. That is normal common sense.lt;br/gt;Another important Wisdom every voter shall have is the ensure - whether the MLAs or MPs to be or would be have basic ‘common sense’ , never be just carried away by their so called ‘degreess’ that is so called ‘qualifications’; it these polticians as ‘representatives’ to be do not have that ‘basic common sense’ just do not elect such fellows; for they are like the ‘Sorrow of China’ called the river ‘Hoyengo’ of China, in your own consuency where you live. Need to have high care on this front. Else, you would be made more Mad by these ‘worthies’ like in Karnataka or Tamil Nadu the ‘farmers’ just are made ‘Mad’ by these politicians there. Similar problems might arise anywhere in India, in any state.lt;br/gt;Do not be simply carried away by some ‘facts’ like your ‘representaive ‘ is an Advocate or some other professional.lt;br/gt;Without solid robust common sense’ in him , he would drive you Mad, So one needs to be very careful when electing his representative.lt;br/gt; No ‘University education’ can be a big subsute to great ‘Robust Common Sense’. Every one of us need to realize.lt;br/gt;Common Sense only says, ‘every problem’ has thousands of Solutions’ if you just have ability to think. Never think, there is ‘No Solution’; if you think there is ‘No Solution’ there can never be born such a great fool like you, you need to realize.lt;br/gt;In the past the w world worked just on ‘Basic Common Sense. That way we had developed many great ‘civilizations’ that is so stated by ‘Historical Determination’ on Man.lt;br/gt;That way Man was really evolved.lt;br/gt;It is a greatest fact, ‘nothing diminishes’, but only shifts positions only.lt;br/gt;Rain comes, eccess water drains into rivers and unused water goes into sea that is all ; that way the waer ‘recycles’ into ‘Cloud formations’, if forests are there ‘ rainfall ‘ occurs; that way that alcholine (salt) water turns into ‘fresh water’ called ‘potable water’ , useful for several purposes.lt;br/gt;That way ever ‘Mineral’ given out by the earth. lt;br/gt;Unused ‘minerals’ move back into earth by merging with the earth.lt;br/gt;Every particle has same tendency; How ‘manures’ are caused, if you know ‘waste material of any kind’ recycles itsrlf that way your ‘food grains’ get evolved.lt;br/gt;That way you ancesters in the ancient past realized unlike you today.lt;br/gt;Sun, Moon, and other planets, as also gases, and oils evove , reevolve after becoming some waste products. If you understand ‘Agriculture’, ‘biology’, ‘physics’ etc in pure sense.lt;br/gt;As long as man used ‘common sense’ he lived a better life than you and I live today, just because you have some ‘New fangled’ wthout realizing the ground realities of the ‘Nature’ and its bounty.lt;br/gt;That way only honorable Supreme court judgement ‘give 12000 cusecs of water ‘ to TN emerged.lt;br/gt;In fact Supreme court ‘thinks’ in ‘right’ terms; while your politicians admittedly fail; so they make you ‘meaninglessly fight’ for big Nothing.lt;br/gt;See, just ‘think’ a while, why you can get that ‘water’ drained, how you can get that ‘ran water; hpw you can get that ‘rain water’ how the rain water can be recycled and so on.lt;br/gt;But your so called ‘I T and engineers and scientists and like’, in Bangalore or in India, cannot think, ‘realities’ of Nature, for all of them ‘lost’ the simple robust common sense as to how to find solutions since 1924 in Mysore, but all simply blame ‘British’ made you sign and give Cavery water in the Madras state then.lt;br/gt;Think, Think, Think. You will get solutions. But you need to think, that is all. That ‘think’ only would fetch you solutions, those solutions would just make your problems disappear.lt;br/gt;You can if you want same crops, as if you cannot live with ‘rotation of crops’. You can desalinate sea water and recycle for your use, or redivert your river waters into some new ‘holding lakes, tanks and te like’ or harvest ‘rains‘ and so on; or ‘connect all rivers’ by canals like Buckingham Canal did the river ‘Krishna river water water’ to get water for Madras city, British could ‘think’ but you….? lt;br/gt;Problem is you only not the rivers, or the water or the ‘crops’ pattern and so on. (ends).
        1. V
          Sep 13, 2016 at 9:09 am
          Our media has forgotten ethics, NDTV was replaying attack on Kanbadigas in TN
          1. S
            Sep 13, 2016 at 12:27 pm
            It is the criminal, foolish Politicians besides the media are responsible for the loss of life, property, taxes and Business income. Politicians behave a though they are the embodiment of wisdom and knowledgeable to solve all problems. They play to the gallery on the emotions of people ignoring facts and truth. lt;br/gt;River water sharing is a world known phenomena and once the interested parties agree on a formula, they should honour and implement it. Politicians don't give a free hand to technocrats and listen to their advise, instead they ignore their advice and try go back on their words bringing harm and misery to all. lt;br/gt;The behave like a dog in the manger, instead if only we clean the River bed along its 800KM length, all affected states can get equitable supply of water.lt;br/gt;Who will cut the politicians to size?
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