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Harmony meet turns the heat on social media


Chairing the meet, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed the need for parties to stop exploiting such situations for political gains, especially with elections round the corner. ‘Effective steps should be taken by the administration to ensure that small issues don’t snowball into a big controversy,’ he said. Singh added it is necessary to maintain independence of opinions in social media. ‘But at the same time, it is also important that we do not let miscreants and troublemakers  misuse social media,’ he said.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who had experienced the misuse of MMS in which an attack on two youths in Pakistan a couple of years ago was circulated during the Muzaffarnagar riots, lamented there was no mechanism to check objectionable content being transmitted through social media. ‘It is necessary that Internet and mobile service providers have the capacity to restrict transmission of SMS, MMS and emails through these mediums,’ he said.

Hinting at the BJP, he added, ‘At present it seems that some of the main political parties are trying to dangerously harm the communal harmony of the state in view of 2014 general elections. Efforts are on (by them) to polarise people of the state.’

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said, ‘It has been seen that a few sections of the media and some unscrupulous users of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter often use them to spread rumours, circulate fake videos, messages and images in a bid to hurt the sentiments of the religious communities, which have the tendency to arouse the passions, vitiate the peaceful atmosphere and lead to communal unrest.’

Similar apprehensions were voiced by chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana and north eastern states. 
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