New Delhi, Sep 23: Noting the increasing use of social media in fanning communal tension, chief ministers of the northeastern states Monday called for regulation of the digital platform.
Speaking at the National Integration Council meeting here, the chief ministers said that social media was often misused to fan communal passions in their states.
Noting that the development of electronic media and information technology had turned out to be a double edged weapon, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said: “Mischievous elements and vested interests can spread rumours and hate speeches within a very short period through social media to spread misinformation and anxieties among people.”
“There is a strong need to developing cyber patrolling capacities of intelligence agencies to check provocative use of this space by miscreants,” said Gogoi.
He blamed the misuse of SMSes and MMSes for spreading rumours leading to flight of people from the northeast from southern states in August last year.
Highlighting the role of media in general, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said social media had emerged as an important player.
“The utility and popularity of this platform is fully acknowledged. However, there are serious risks and threats involved if misuse of this domain by unscrupulous elements is left completely unregulated,” said Sangma.
Sikkim’s Urban Development Minister D.B. Thapa said his government had set up a cell at the police headquarters to engage with public on social media on a regular basis and counter any hate propaganda.
The state government had designated nodal officers in each department for monitoring the contents of social networking sites and taking immediate action against any false propaganda, he said.
The chief ministers of the northeastern states highlighted the steps they had taken to safeguard women and stressed on delivery of quick justice in cases of communal violence.
“In all cases of communal violence, justice has to be delivered fast and punishment imposed firmly for it to have any deterrent effect,” said Sangma.
Gogoi expressed concern over the rising incidents of crimes against women in Assam.
“The women in Assam are quite emancipated but due to social changes brought about by rapid urbanisation and economic development, there has been a rising trend in the crimes against women which is a matter of concern,” he said.
The state plans to have a women’s cell in each police station by 2016 besides setting up a woman commando force called Veerangana that will target those harassing women, he said.
Noting that there have been few incidents of crime against women in his state, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki said: “An all women police station has been started in Itanagar and a special drive is underway to recruit 200 women police officials so that issues of women’s safety can be handled separately and promptly.”