India raises social media misuse with Pakistan, situation normal in south


New Delhi : India Sunday took up the issue of social media sites’ misuse by Pakistan-based elements in whipping up communal sentiments in the country with Pakistan, even as Congress chief Sonia Gandhi sought action against those behind the Assam violence and subsequent mistreatment of people from the northeast.

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Meanwhile, no further incident was reported from Bangalore, where security was tightened ahead of Eid Monday, while the Karnataka government appealed to all those people from the notheast who had fled following threats or rumoured threats to return, assuring them of all security.

According to home ministry officials, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik, who called him up, that elements based in Pakistan used such sites to circulate false pictures and stories so as to whip up communal sentiments in India.

Thousands of students from northeast fled the southern Indian cities of Bangalore and Chennai after hate messages were spread through mobile phones and on Facebook in the past two days promising retaliation for the ethnic violence in the northeastern state of Assam last month.

Expressing her “deep pain” at the ethnic violence in Assam, Gandhi condemned the subsequent mistreatment faced by people from northeast in some states and called for strict action against the guilty.

Speaking at the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavna Award ceremony here, she said the present conditions prevailing in the country were linked to its unity and amity.

“Whatever happened in Assam, it is very painful and a matter of concern. Those responsible for the incidents, whoever they may be, should face legal action soon,” she said.

Gandhi also expressed concern over people from northeast leaving Bangalore and some other cities in large numbers due to rumours about their safety.

“The kind of treatment innocent people from northeast are facing, all of us should condemn it strongly and the centre and state governments should deal strictly with those trying to disrupt social harmony,” she said.

Gandhi said social harmony was not an issue for her late husband Rajiv Gandhi but a fundamental value which he lived all his life.

In Bangalore, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar asserted the situation was now normal.

“The situation in Bangalore is under control with no untoward incident during the last two days. Security has been tightened across the city to ensure a peaceful Eid celebration Monday,” he said.

Shettar also appealed to all the northeast people who fled the city since Aug 15 to return to Bangalore and the state as there was no cause to stay away or threat to their safety.

Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashoka, who holds the home portfolio, reviewed the law and order situation and deployment of additional forces in Bangalore and other cities across the state with top police and government officials.

Ashoka also met Nagaland Power Minister Doshehe Y.Sema and a senior state police official, who flew in from Kohima to meet their people living in the city and assure them of their safety and security.

In a related development, a local court in Mumbai extended till Aug 24 the police custody of 23 people arrested in connection with violence at the Azad Maidan last week. The accused were booked Aug 12.

Two people were killed and another 100 injured as a protest by several Muslim organisations to condemn the alleged attacks on Muslims in Myanmar and the Assam riots turned violent Aug 11.