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Monday, August 20, 2012

Assam Violence: And Then... Cyber Terror By Pakistan?


The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has confirmed that a hardliner group in Pakistan uploaded morphed images and videos on websites and social networking sites to whip up communal tension across India. The images of badly mangled victims in natural disasters like earthquakes and floods from various countries including Tibet and Thailand had been linked to the ethnic violence in Assam, situated in North Eastern region of India, to incite the Muslims and to panic the north easterners living in different parts of India. 

The uploading reportedly started around mid-July, 2012 in the aftermath of the Myanmar violence involving the Buddhists and Muslims which was also allegedly termed as ethnic cleansing resorted to by the government of Myanmar. In the meantime the Assam violence erupted between the local population of the Bodo tribe and the immigrant Muslim community from Bangladesh. The violence was largely due to economic pressures leading to land disputes created by unchecked infiltration from Bangladesh into Assam over the decades and there was no communal angle to that. 

The said terrorist group in Pakistan linked the morphed visuals to indicate horrendous communal killings of Muslims by the Bodos and added intimidating messages to the effect that the killings would be avenged after the celebrations of the Eid-ul-Fitar festival. Inflammatory short text and multimedia messages began to invade the mobile network too. 

This could possibly be the reason for the Mumbai violence on August 11, 2012 when anti-social elements penetrated a peaceful demonstration by the Mumbai Muslims and created an absolute chaos in a prime locality for one hour. The very unexpectedness of the mindless violence nearly paralyzed the security personnel on duty and they along with the media became the specific targets of the mob. Finally the violence left two people dead and scores injured. 

The rumors and messages became stronger after that and reports of north easterners being harassed and threatened in various cities flooded in. Perhaps the biggest exodus of Indians within India since Independence unfolded, not to speak of the nearly 500,000 people displaced and driven to refugee camps in Assam. Thousands of fear stricken Assamese people and north easterners rushed to the railway stations and took the first trains available to Assam and the North East. The worst affected cities were Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad. The overcrowded trains became the spectacle of the century. 

The Government of India got into the action mode. Bulk short text and multimedia messages were banned for fifteen days. The Home Ministry constituted a dedicated team of experts to peruse the internet for any signs of violation. The team found more than hundred websites and cyber accounts filled with inflammatory visuals and texts, and they sourced the uploading to Pakistan. More than eighty of those were immediately blocked and Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were approached for finding objectionable and communal pages or accounts. As per latest reports the government had ordered for blocking more than 250 sites and a few social networking sites told the government that the uploading of objectionable images and videos was done from Pakistan. 

As the evidence clearly pointed towards Pakistan the Indian Home Ministry got into touch with its Pakistan counterpart and asked for a crackdown on the hate spreading elements there. If this latest evidence could succeed in breaking Pakistan’s eternal mode of denial was to be seen yet. Normally Indian evidence does not qualify as 'evidence' in Pakistan! 

Why a country bled continually by terrorism within is always focused on destabilizing or even destroying its neighbor and is ever unwilling or unable to counter the terrorists has always been the big question. The answer to that just never comes. Instead a new weapon called cyber terror gets discovered. 

The India-Pakistan relations could very well be termed  the greatest mystery of mankind. 



Today Eid-ul-Fitar is being celebrated throughout India. We wish all our Muslim friends the happiest Eid Mubarak! We all should take a resolve on this holy occasion to stay united on the issue of our nationality, to take pride on being Indians and defeat all divisive forces. 



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