Mangaluru, Aug 14, 2020: Against the backdrop of a raging controversy in Bengaluru, where three people have died following violent protests against an allegedly derogatory post against Muslims, Dakshina Kannada police continue to keep vigil over ‘communally sensitive’ posts in the district, which has been witness to many a flare-up in the recent past. In 2020, as many as eight complaints have been lodged in Mangaluru city seeking action against posts deemed offensive to members of a religious community. However, such posts have not triggered any violent incidents in the coastal city.
These posts on social media portals malign religion, and deities of respective faiths, in addition to being very insulting of political personalities, including the Prime Minister. However, Dakshina Kannada police said that such expressions of hate on the internet had not been allowed to escalate into violent clashes as was happening in Bengaluru. “Police remain very alert and ensure that such situations do not escalate. No sooner do we receive information on such posts than we switch into damage control mode,” said a senior Dakshina Kannada police officer.
Another senior cop in Dakshina Kannada said that many of those posting such derogatory messages on their social media pages were abroad, mostly people sitting in the Gulf and making inflammatory remarks on the web. In the aftermath of the violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Registry of Citizens (NRC), wherein one of the agitators was killed in police firing in December last year, there was a rash of inflammatory messages that proliferated on various social media portals. Mangaluru police had planned a course of action called ‘Letters rogatory’, which was later abandoned owing to the tedium involved in carrying out the process, the senior police officer added.
He said that, while the spread of communal hatred through such vitriolic messages had initially been restricted on Facebook, had subsequently found traction on Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp. “We constantly monitor websites and social media accounts that are infamous for such messages. We arrest those indulging in the incitement of communal hate, which we hope will send a strong message, but such things keep recurring,” the cop rued.
Mangaluru city police commissioner Vikash Kumar said that as many as 29 cases had been booked in the past five years appertaining communal sensitive messages on social media portals.