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Centre to set up Inter-Ministerial Group to check social media content

Crackdown against those provoking youth

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, June 12: The Central Government has decided to constitute a 20-member high-level Expert Group comprising top officials from various Ministries, Jammu and Kashmir Government and experts from private companies to devise ways and means for dealing with campaign launched on social media by sympathizers of the militants to incite youth towards militancy and stone pelting.
“The high-level Expert Group will be headed by a top official of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and comprise officials from MHA, Union Ministry of Information Technology, Telecommunications Ministry, Jammu and Kashmir Government and IT experts from the private sector,” sources told the Excelsior adding that it will be a 20-member Group and would be tasked to keep 24×7 surveillance on social media campaign across the country especially Jammu and Kashmir, where it was being misused by some sympathizers of the militants to promote militancy and stone pelting in the Valley.
The concerned Ministries and Jammu and Kashmir Government would nominate its officials to the Expert Group, who will then act in coordination to identify those indulging in “hate campaign” on social media against the country and provoking youth to take to guns and stones.
“Once identified the accused would be arrested and First Information Reports (FIRs) filed against them,” sources said, adding the Government hoped that once action is initiated against some of the ‘anti-national elements’, the menace of social media campaign would come down to quite an extent.
The Expert Group, according to sources, will hold regular meetings and devise its strategy accordingly. Sources were of the view that the Group will have to focus primarily in Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi.
There have been reports with the Centre Government that some contents on social media or uploaded from Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) to the Over Ground Workers of the militants, who then forward it to the local youths. The highly provocative contents are aimed at luring the youth into militancy and stone pelting, thus, spoiling their career.
“A number of youth have already fallen into the trap of militants through social media campaign,” sources said, adding it will be endeavour of the Government to ensure that more youth don’t become the victims of `hate campaign’ on social media, which has been unleashed by sympathizers of the militants at the behest of some outfits.
Only yesterday, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba had chaired another meeting of top MHA, Information Technology, Communication and security officials to discuss measures against malicious content posted on social media by the “anti-national and anti-social elements” and steps required to counter the menace and remove such content as early as possible to prevent the Kashmiri youth from falling into the trap of sympathizers of militants.
Top civil and police officials from Jammu and Kashmir had attended the meeting as the problem of posting of malicious content on social media was being faced in Jammu and Kashmir, where Over Ground Workers of the militants were posting content to incite youth to reach sites of encounters and pelt stones on security forces and police to facilitate escape of the militants.
“The meeting discussed measures to be taken by the Law enforcement agencies to tackle security challenges posed by militants, Over Ground Workers and individuals propagating “hate campaign” on social media,” sources said, adding that a number of steps have been discussed and finalized at the meeting to check the menace.
Sources said the high-level meeting also discussed steps to enhance coordination among the Law Enforcement agencies, Department of Telecom, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and other concerned agencies to block and remove malicious content under Sections 69 and 79 of the Information Technology Act.
“The FIRs could also be registered again those indulging in campaign on social media that encourage anti-national activities,” sources said.

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