Set up Spl task force to monitor social media: MHA

Set up Spl task force to monitor social media: MHA

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, PTI file photo

A nodal officer in the rank of Superintendent of Police in every district, a Special Task Force to gather intelligence and intensive monitoring of social media are among a slew of measures directed by the Centre to states in order to check incidents of lynching.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also asked states to consider the failure of an officer to prevent, investigate and facilitate the expeditious trial of lynching cases should be considered as an "act of deliberate negligence and/or misconduct" and strong action must be taken against the official within six months.

In an advisory sent to states on July 23 following a Supreme Court directive on tackling lynching, the MHA said, "incidents of violence and lynching by mobs in some parts of the country, fuelled by various kinds of rumours and unverified news such as of child-lifting, theft, cattle smuggling etc are a matter of serious concerns. Such instances of persons taking the law into their own hands run against the basic tenets of the rule of law."

The advisory, second in three weeks on the issue, comes in the wake of Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and a committee headed by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba suggesting a legal framework to check incidents of lynching.

Insisting that the states should implement the directions of the Supreme Court in "letter and spirit", the advisory highlighted the directions to be followed by the states.

An SP rank officer should be appointed as a nodal officer who should be assisted by a DySP.

They should set up a special task force to gather intelligence about people who are likely to commit such crimes or who are involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news should be set up.

Police and intelligence agencies should monitor social media platform and take steps to curb and stop the dissemination of "irresponsible and explosive messages, videos and other material on various social media platforms which have a tendency to incite mob violence and lynching of any kind".

FIRs should be filed against those who disseminate such messages.

The state governments should also identify districts, sub-divisions and villages where lynching and mob violence have been reported in the recent past.

The process of identification should be done within a period of three weeks from July 17.

The State Home Secretaries should instruct nodal officers, who should conduct regular meetings with local intelligence units, to ensure that the Station House Officers of identified areas are "extra cautious".

The nodal officer should also "make efforts to eradicate hostile environment against any community or caste which is targeted in such incidents".

In regular meetings called by the Directors General of Police or state Home Secretaries to review the situation, the nodal officer should also bring to their attention problems in inter-district coordination for devising a strategy to tackle lynching.

The DGP should ask SPs to step up patrolling in sensitive areas.

The measures directed to check lynching:

1) Appoint nodal officers in the rank of SPs in every district

2) Special Task Force for intelligence gathering

3) Identify districts and localities prone to lynching

4) Monitor Social Media

5) Instruct SHOs in sensitive areas to be extra cautious

6) Nodal officers should conduct regular meetings with local intel units

7) Ensure no hostile environment against any community or caste

8) DGPs/state Home Secys should conduct regular review meetings

9) Sort out inter-district coordination issues

10) Intensify police patrolling

11)Organise campaigns that lynching would attract stringent punishment

12)Strong action against officials not taking proper action in lynching cases

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