In the wake of recent mob violence across the country, the Union Home Ministry on Thursday directed all the states and Union Territories (UTs) to adopt measures to prevent incidents of lynching fuelled by rumours of child abduction across various social media platforms.
According to officials, the ministry has urged the states and UTs to keep an eye for early detection of such rumours and initiate measures to counter them accordingly. The states and UTs have also been asked to direct the district administration to identify vulnerable areas and hold community outreach programmes to create awareness and build confidence among the masses.
The ministry also stressed on the need to treat and investigate complaints of child abduction properly.
Two days ago, the Supreme Court had put the onus on the states to check such incidents. Saying it would “not confine these incidents to any particular motive”, the court observed that “this is mob violence, which is a crime”. “We do not want lynchings. We do not want mob violence. We want to protect victims,” said a bench comprising of the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has already sent a letter to the WhatsApp senior management, urging action against misinformation circulating on its platform in India. The letter, which came after IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took notice of the recent spate of lynchings, has conveyed the government’s “deep disapproval” to WhatsApp and called for “necessary remedial measures” and “immediate action” to stem the flow of misinformation. Senior officials, who sent the letter, specified no deadline for WhatsApp’s response.