Bulk SMSes, MMSes banned for 15 days

Bulk SMSes, MMSes banned for 15 days

The Centre has banned bulk SMSes and MMSes for a fortnight following rumours of attack on north-east people leading to their exodus from several major cities in the country including Bangalore.

The ban order entails that no mobile user can send more than five SMSes in one go and more than 20 KB of data through cell phones during the ban period, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said. The ministry has asked Department of Telecommunications to implement the order through the telecom operators. “We will detect those who are spreading rumours. Those responsible for the exodus from Bangalore will not go scot free,” Singh said. 

SMSes and MMSes warning of attack on the north-eastern community have spread like wildfire over the last 3-4 days leading to the hapless migrants leaving cities such as Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, etc in panic. The government hopes to check spread of mobile messages through its move.

The decision to ban messages was taken in the wake of reports of widespread circulation of SMSes and MMSes containing misleading information about Assam violence, threats to people of northeastern origin living in other parts of the country and doctored videos.

Referring to the exodus from Bangalore, Singh said  the situation in the city was under control after security forces were deployed and authorities held meetings with people from the northeast and minorities. “The police commissioner and the chief minister said northeastern people are safe in Bangalore...and after the meeting, people have stopped leaving the city,” he claimed.

Referring to the situation in Assam, he said two minor “isolated incidents” had taken place. “The situation is fully under control in Assam and you cannot call them fresh violence. We need to investigate these matters,” Singh said. Wild rumours have been doing the rounds that people from the northeast region would be attacked after August 20, to avenge the recent ethnic violence in Assam.

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