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Cyber patrolling team to hunt down rumour mills

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GUWAHATI, June 11: Rattled by the savage lynching of two innocent youths in Karbi Anglong district, the Assam Police has constituted a special cyber patrolling team to thwart any attempt to spread hatred or disseminate misinformation or rumours through social media platforms.

Both the youths from Guwahati were lynched in Karbi Anglong district on Friday evening after a mob suspected them to be child lifters due to a rumour spread through social media.

Additional DGP (Security) Harmeet Singh will lead the team to keep a tab on social media activities, and people can lodge complaint if they come across anything objectionable being spread in the social media.

DGP Kuladhar Saikia said the Assam Police has taken the Karbi Anglong lynching incident with utmost seriousness and the perpetrators of the crime will not be spared. If necessary, more technical persons will be roped in for the cyber patrolling squad to add teeth to the drive against rumour mongers, he said.

The Assam Police headquarters here has already instructed the SPs of all districts to remain alert against attempts of creating imaginary entities to spread superstitious beliefs in rural areas through social media or WhatsApp.

Sources said Assam is increasingly grappling with the problem of fake news and rumour on social media resulting in untoward incidents including public lynching. With the Centre taking steps to connect each village in the Northeast with better telecom and internet services, misuse of social media to spread rumours and hatred is fast becoming a cause of concern for police and law enforcement agencies. The situation has reached such a pass that even some mischievous elements recently created a fake Facebook account of Guwahati Police Commissioner Hiren Chandra Nath with an intention to spread false news through social media. The police have already launched a crackdown on such elements.