India cracks down on Internet over migrant exodus

Blocks 245 web pages, temporarily bans bulk text messaging.


Afp August 21, 2012

NEW DELHI: India has demanded social networking websites take down provocative messages and has blocked some online content after anonymous threats sparked an exodus of migrants from several cities.

Tens of thousands of workers and students from the remote northeast region returned home last week fearing attacks from Muslims in reprisal for recent ethnic clashes in the state of Assam.

The Indian government has said many of the Internet posts, fake video clips and phone messages spreading rumours of plans to target migrants were sent from arch-rival Pakistan.

A statement from the Ministry of Communications late Monday said an order had been issued on August 17 but that "such inflammatory and harmful content continued to appear on the social networking sites."

It added the government was meeting with representatives of the sites to curb the content, but stressed that "a lot more and quicker action is expected from them to address such a sensitive issue".

Officials declined to name which sites were affected, and Twitter, Google and Facebook were not immediately available for comment.

The government also said 245 web pages had been blocked, but declined to give further details.

Asked on Tuesday whether the sites were being used to whip up ethnic tension, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told reporters: "We have got sufficient evidence. The whole process is in investigation mode."

Local media reports estimated that over 35,000 people fled cities including Bangalore and Mumbai over the last week, packing special trains arranged to carry panicked students and workers back to the northeast.

Weeks of clashes in Assam between members of the Bodo tribal community and Muslims have claimed at least 80 lives and displaced more than 400,000 people.

The government says it is willing to share proof that much of the inflammatory Internet activity originated from Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Bulk text messages have been temporarily banned in India to halt the spread of threats and rumours.

COMMENTS (27)

ApieceOfpeace! | 9 years ago | Reply

@ayesha_khan: .....minority in Pakistan would DARE to attack majority? What would be the scale of the backlash? I am not even talking about Hindus/Christians attacking Muslims. Do you think even Shias would dare to attack Sunnis.....

Ayesha! Now that you have modified your previous claim I can modify my answer too. Ofcourse, the non-Muslim minorities sadly get the short end of the stick. Obviously one can say, when Pashtoon, Baloch, Shias can kill top men from Majority as soon as their man falls why then Qadianees, Christians, Women folk & Hindus can't? It only proves these are the True Weak Minorities of Pakistan that must be quickly protected, respected and appreciated for Pakistan to ask equal or decent standing on world stage short of a totally uncivilized land of Cave-Men status. The job should not be difficult for the authorities as this "oppression of minorities" has it's origins in Local Ancient History & Cast System and clearly not a part of Islamic Fundamentals. This is the point where you hate the unpleasant outcome of democratic methods of voting and election on numbers basis. Because if democracy was so natural way of government why it promotes neglect of minorities & the low-vote groups?

ayesha_khan | 9 years ago | Reply

@ApieceOfpeace: "@gp65: Bro, Pak minorities are very vigilant and resilient when it comes to taking revenge. All minorities have been in a tit-for-tat terms with the respective majorities in Pakistan, read the news more closely next time"

Not a "Bro". Am a woman. Anyway, please give me specific examples when Pakistani Hindus retaliated against Sunnis for kidnapping rape and forced conversions, when Ahmadis retaliated against Sunnis for breaking their worship places, desecrating their graves and much more, when Hazara Shias retaliated in response to target killing after identifyingpeople using ID cards, when Christians retaliated against false blasphemy cases or GOjra kilings for that matter. Just saying minorities indulge in tit-for-tat kiling does no make it so.

@Zeta "@gp65: your kind comes here and spend 23 out od 24 hours of your life bashing pakistan on pakistani sites. you don’t consider that freedom of hate speech genius?"

It is true that I frequently post comments on ET. Please provide a single instance when I have used hate speech. Also when you make a broad sweeping statement regarding "people like me" - who exactly are these people?All Hindus? All Indians? All women? Who exactly are " all people like me"?

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