Almost a month has passed, since a teenaged girl in Guwahati was molested by a mob and the video went viral all across the nation, but neither the state government nor the central government woke up to counter such a menace. This being one discreet case of molestation, the government could comfortably choose to ignore it at large. But then, the recent riots in Assam and now its retaliation in Indian metros, which largely got instigated through hate SMSs that went viral all across, highlight the repetitive indolent behavior of the government towards an entire set of people belonging to one region. The choreographed hate messages played a significant role in the migration of people of Northeastern states of India from cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai; and such a migration clearly is a blow to the pledge of a free India with equal rights for all.
The government on its part banned bulk messages for 15 days, as well as multimedia messages of over 25 KB throughout the country. The government also blocked a total of 310 web pages, which provided, in one form or the other, morphed images of riots in Assam which had been instigating hate sentiments among over 60 million Indian net users. The banned web pages include specific pages from Twitter and Facebook as well – it’s estimated that 36 million in India use Facebook and 15 million use Twitter. Our ruling elites have perchance presumed that banning SMS texts and some social networking sites is enough to stem the trouble – these in reality are actually the tip of the iceberg of a much deeper-rooted problem. Although the government has set the tone of its action by blocking the hate pages from various websites, this is more of a juvenile and a temporary step. What our policy makers forget is that till one and a half decades ago, there were no social networking sites, yet there had been numerous catastrophic riots in the region.
Thus, simply blocking web pages and SMS texts would not serve the purpose. This would neither deter the nuisance creator nor help in zeroing in on the actual perpetrators. The real criminals (or groups of criminals) are still scot-free and would be planning their next target. The government should have rather deployed and mobilized resources that could have traced the source of such hate messages, filtered them and brought the real culprits to task at the soonest – the speed, intensity and accuracy of action from the government, if there had been relevant ones, would have deterred the perpetrators instantly.