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20 October 2011

Offences on Facebook could be punishable

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By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Social media is for networking, but then some can even use this as a mischief and attempt to create hatred among communities which in turn may have lead to civil unrest.

This is exactly what has happened in Hyderabad, where some anti-social elements studying in St.Francis Xavier Degree College at Kachiguda, posted some inflammatory photos of Holy Kaaba on the Facebook.

The photos clearly desecrated the modesty of Holy Kaaba, the most revered place of worship for the followers of the Islamic faith.

It was timely action by some social activist and an upright police officer that defused the situation which had all the ingredients to flare up into a full fledged communal riot.

The Muslim students of the St.Francis Xavier Degree College brought this matter to the notice of the Amjed Ullah Khan, Corporator 35-Azampura Division, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

Mr Khan immediately lodged a complaint against such activities going on the Facebook, at the police station Kachiguda, Hyderabad.

In his complaint Mr. Khan urged the police to take immediate action against those students who had indulged in hate monger at the social media site, that has the third largest population in the word after China and India.

Mr Khan has also urged action against the management of the degree college for having such kind of anti social elements as its students.

After registering the complaint, the police swung into action and visited the college along with Mr.Khan. They were quickly able to identify the anti-social elements of the college as Abhishek Totla, Neeraj Jhawar, Deepesh Agarwal. The trio was arrested on the charges of trying to create hatred among the communities.

The management of the college cooperated with the police, fearing the men in uniform. The college Principal Mr. Bhujang Rao immediately issued Transfer Certificate to the students and handed them over to the police.

The prompt action of the Inspector of Police at the Kachiguda police station should be appreciated. It is due to his prompt action of going to the college, identifying the real culprits and arresting them defused a highly volatile situation in Muslim dominated city like Hyderabad.

This case serves as an example for all those who take for granted the social media sites as a play field and think can get away with what ever they may like to do there.

This case also sends out a strong message to the users of the social media that their anti social activities on such sites could be registered as a cognizable offence.

[Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at syedalimujtaba@yahoo.com]

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