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Maharashtra’s Director General of Police on Friday issued a circular to all superintendents and commissioners of police across the state instructing them to take steps and ensure the situation does not get escalate in the wake of violence that erupted in Nashik earlier this week. The violence erupted after a teenager was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a minor from Talegaon village.
The circular said that for every cognizable offence where the victim is either from the Maratha or Dalit community, a First Information Report (FIR) should be registered immediately. The arrest in such cases should be swift to ensure that the members don’t stage protests in the area or near police stations.
The circular also stated that the local police stations should keep tabs on messages that are being circulated on various app-based services and social media platforms. The police department was instructed to take action against those who post fake messages to incite violence.
“After the rape case came to light, many fake messages that claimed the victim was brutally abused were being circulated on messenger services and social media to incite community members and for gathering mobs. This prompted the Nashik Police to cut off mobile internet services. We have therefore asked police stations across the state to keep a tab on such messenger groups where the victim or the accused belong to either of the two communities,” a senior official told The Indian Express.
Police stations have also been advised to keep a check on the local leaders from communities. “The police stations have been asked to draw a list of the local leaders who might influence locals to participate in protests. The movement of such people should be closely monitored,” the official said.
Also, statues of leaders have been provided security cover. “We have asked them to draw a list of statues of leaders like Shivaji Maharaj and B R Ambedkar and deploy policemen to ensure that miscreants don’t vandalise or desecrate statues, which may create a law and order problem. Similarly, a security cordon should be thrown at the temples and prominent places of worship in their locality,” police said.
As a confidence-building measure, police have also been told to hold peace meetings for members from various communities.