GUWAHATI, June 9 - Rumours about entry of a large gang of criminals, including child traffickers from Bihar, have caused panic in different parts of Assam and police is of the view that this may be a ploy of unscrupulous elements to divert the attention of the security forces from the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Efforts are on by the police to trace out the origin of such social media posts, but so far, the persons behind spread of such rumours have not been detected.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Special Director General of Police (Special Branch) Pallab Bhattacharyya said the rumour about entry of a large gang from Bihar has become viral in the social media, which has created panic in parts of the State. According to social media posts, a gang of around 400 to 500 criminals from Bihar, including child traffickers, have entered Assam and they are trying to indulge in criminal activities. He said the rumour has created panic Karbi Anglong, Tezpur, Biswanath Chariali, Tinsukia and other places. He revealed that the police verified authenticity of these social media posts and found that there was no truth in it.
Bhattacharyya pointed out that already three persons lost their lives because of such rumours and all the district police forces have been alerted to keep a close watch on the situation to prevent such incidents. Two youths from Guwahati were killed in Karbi Anglong yesterday night by a mob that thought they were child lifters, while another person was killed in Biswanath Chariali this morning following spread of rumours.
Replying to a question on the possible reasons for such rumour mongering, Bhattacharyya said that it is difficult to ascertain the reasons. But at the same time, he admitted that it might be a ploy of unscrupulous elements to divert the attention of the police and security forces from the NRC update process which is at a crucial stage now, with all the forces keeping a close watch on the situation to ensure that no untoward incident takes place in any part of the State after the publication of the final draft of the citizenship document on June 30.
On the steps taken by the police to thwart such rumours, the Special DG said that all the district superintendents of police have been directed to keep a close watch on the situation. He said they have also been asked to keep a vigil on the social media and report any disturbing posts to the nodal officer of the cyber dome project so that attempts can be made to track down the persons who gave such posts.
Bhattacharyya, however, admitted that with the software presently available with the Assam Police, it is not possible to track down all the persons giving disturbing posts. He admitted that at present, only around five per cent of the persons giving social media posts can be tracked down and the main problem is that most of the servers of social media sites are located outside India. He said the Central government has been trying to develop an advanced software to track down 100 per cent of the origins of social media posts and once the software is available, it would be possible for the police to track down all those using the social media to spread rumours.
Bhattacharyya also admitted that it is difficult to block social media posts. �In case of extreme emergency, we can block internet connectivity to prevent any major outbreak of law and order problem. But that has to be the last resort when the situation totally goes out of control,� he added.