The government is quickly working towards shutting down more than 250 websites in the light of the North-East exodus. The Centre has come down heavily on the channels it believes are playing a role in triggering fear and leading to the exodus. It has been found that morphed images and videos were uploaded to these websites with an aim to incite the Muslim community in the country. Currently, as many as 130 websites have been blocked, and according to some Home ministry officials, the rest will follow soon.
Further, reports indicate that a Pakistan-based hardline group carried out the task of doctoring the images and disseminated them through popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. A report by the Home Ministry states that the majority of the content appeared online on July 13. Reportedly, fake profiles were created to spread the morphed images.
The government last week announced that it would be banning bulk SMS, MMS messages in the country. It was found that hordes of SMS, and MMS messages were being used to instigate fear and cause the exodus. In light of such a situation, the government issued a ban on sending bulk SMS and MMS messages hoping to nip the rumours in the bud.
The Home Ministry asked the Department of Telecommunications to implement the order through telecom operators in the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that rumours spread by miscreants in this way had resulted in those of North-Eastern origin leaving their homes across the country. It had been found that the text and multimedia messages contained rumours or misleading information about the Assam violence. These messages were found to contain fabricated videos and supposed threats to people of North-Eastern origin in the country.
During the ban, it will not be possible to send more than five SMS messages or more than 25 KB of data at a time from a mobile phone. While the move is being projected as a quick fix for a situation spiraling out of hand, citizens across the country are feeling the pinch as SMS is a very popular mode of communication in the country. Clearly, there are many who are not happy with the latest turn of events.
One consumer wrote, "Who will pay for those who have subscribed for a daily SMS pack under a special scheme, such as the one costing Rs 95 for 100 SMS daily? Will the government pay me back or will the network provider?"
Another person added, “A kind request to Govt. Please withdraw this rule as soon as possible. SMS matters a lot to me. Calling is not possible so SMS has become a source of life for me.”
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