Even as the nation was reeling under the worrying state of the exodus northeastern Indian from various places, with the role of the content posted on social networking sites in inciting violence and disruptive actvities was considered. Reports now reveal that the government had planned to bar Twitter across eight states in the country. The 'inflammatory' content posted on Twitter was thought to be one of the main factors triggering the widespread exodus in the country.
Government planned to ban Twitter across 8 states
Interestingly, the Department of Electronics and IT (DEIT) had sought to bar the popular microblogging service across eight states in the country, namely, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The DEIT approached experts to know how to proceed with it and if at all it could be done.
The DEIT was following an advisory issued by the Home Ministry. The ministry had been of the opinion that the content on Twitter had a role to play in triggering panic, and the exodus subsequently. The move, however, did not go through. As per fresh reports, the move was discouraged by National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and Pulok Chatterjee, Principal Secretary to the PM.
Voicing its opinion behind discouraging such a move, the PMO reportedly said, “Water supply cannot be switched off to an entire colony just because few taps were giving bad water.” It was then decided to install a review committee in place to monitor content posted on Twitter.
The report surfaces in the wake of a widespread exodus in the country. In light of the Assam violence, those from the northeast residing elsewhere in the country began receiving threatening SMSes, causing panic and leading them to flee their homes across Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, and other cities.
As the exodus continued, it had been revealed that inflammatory content posted on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter aggravated the problem.
What followed were attempts by the Centre to come down heavily on the channels it believes are playing a role in triggering fear and leading to the exodus. It has been found that morphed images and videos were uploaded to these websites with an aim to incite the Muslim community in the country. Currently, as many as 130 websites have been blocked, and according to some Home ministry officials, the rest will follow soon.
Only a couple of days ago, the government sent legal notices to four Twitter account holders, directing them represent their case before a committee on September 10 at the office of the Computer Emergency Response Team. The report marks the latest development in the government's attempts to come down heavily on channels, which it believes had a role to play in inciting violence and hatred in the country, leading to the exodus of northeast Indians in the country. LiveMint now reports that Union Home Minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Director of the Intelligence Bureau Nehchal Sandhu have sought for immediate steps to enhance cyber security.
Recently reports suggested that the government had warned Twitter of legal action after the latter failed to cooperate with its attempts to remove webpages carrying offensive content targeting those from the northeast. Reports went on to add that the government received a rather delayed response from Twitter, and this was partly attributed to the fact that the company does not have its offices in the country.