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Social media has its highs, but is it becoming a weapon for riot-mongers?

By Reetu

Riots in India.
Today, most of us are tech-savvy and love to keep updating things on the social media. Twitter, facebook, whatsapp etc have become a part and parcel of our lives and whenever we get time we don't miss a chance to check the latest updates on these platforms.

The biggest advantage of social media is that it helps you to stay connected with the world and also helps to spread an information at a very fast pace. The best example of this could be the recent incident where a three-year-old girl, Jahnvi, went missing from India Gate last Sunday and was found roaming in Janakpuri area in west Delhi on Monday.

Reports said that there was a placard hanging from her neck which said," My name is Jahnvi, I had gone missing from India Gate."

The placard also had her father's name and phone number.

The locals made a call to her father after finding the girl and also made a PCR call following which a police team rushed to rescued the girl.

After the girl went missing, photos of the three-year-old girl, requesting help from people to trace her had gone viral on social media. Reportedly, after the media hype and social media postings on the issue kidnappers released the girl.

But this very advantage of social media is being converted into disadvantage by using the same medium for causing riots in the country.

Where on one side the social media has its own advantage, it is seems today, the same social media is slowly becoming a weapon for riot mongers. 30 to 40 percent of riots in India are triggered by the posts and comments made on these social media sites.

Social media - a breeding ground for riots?

The recent riots in Vadodara is also one of those incidents where social media was misused. A boy posted a morphed image of a Hindu goddess superimposed on an image of the Kaba after which it went viral and triggered violence in Gujarat's Vadodara. And the riots continued till a week after which the mobile internet facility in the city was suspended as a precautionary measure to check the spread of rumours which could further spark communal tensions in the city.

Later on, as a precautionary measure, the government ordered suspension of mobile data, bulk SMSes as well as wireless Internet service except broadband service across the consultation with city police.

This is not the lone incident where social media has been misused. In June 2014, tension gripped Pune, after an angry mob went on rampage in the town over morphed pictures of the late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackery, Chhatrapati Shivaji and other Hindu gods which were shared on Facebook and WhatsApp.

An angry mob attacked and killed Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, a 24-year-old Muslim IT professional, who was no in way connected to the circulation of the pictures. The boy was beaten to death by the mob after he was returning home from offering namaz.

Even the exodus of tens of thousands of panic-stricken students and workers from northeast in Bangalore and Pune, spurred by rumours that they would be attacked in retaliation for communal violence in Assam is an example of the same.

If we start counting, the list of such incidents will not come to an end where the riots have been caused due to postings and sharing of such stuff on social media platform.

It is very difficult to control such things if it spreads through social media platforms. Thus , the government should take stern steps to prevent misuse of these platforms by the riot mongers.

And not only government, it is also the responsibility of those who post things on social media without giving a second thought that what harm could it do to the country and its people.

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