PM admits ‘erosion’ in inter-community ties
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With recent events in Assam and elsewhere at the back of his mind, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday asked chiefs of police organisations to upgrade their technical expertise to deal effectively with crimes carried out with the help of mobile or computer technology.
Speaking on the concluding day of the annual conference of senior police officers, Singh dwelt at length on the increase in communal incidents, including in Assam, and told the police officers to devise strategies to preempt and prevent the same. Speaking of the incidents in the Northeast, followed by the repercussions elsewhere, the PM said: "It further strained the communal situation which was already showing some signs of deterioration, particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala."
"The use of bulk SMSes and social media to aggravate the communal situation is a new challenge that the recent disturbances have thrown before us. We need to fully understand how these new media are used by miscreants. We also need to devise strategies to counter the propaganda that is carried out by these new means," he said.
However, the PM cautioned: "Any measure to control the use of such media must be carefully weighed against the need for freedom to express and communicate."
While embracing newer technologies, Singh stressed, the traditional policing system also should be energised through effective beat constables.
Lamenting the ineffectiveness of the administrative machinery in dealing with communal situations, he urged police chiefs to sensitise their forces to the issues and ensure that action is taken in time to prevent such clashes.
"The erosion in inter-community relations is something that should worry us all. The capacity of the administrative set-up to check such deterioration seems to have weakened. There is, therefore, a case for reorienting our police forces to effectively track the sentiments of the people and inter-community tensions as they rise. Advance identification of potential trouble makers, timely use of preventive sections of the law, alongside seeking cooperation of the community for maintaining peace should be the first instruments to be deployed, well before the situation deteriorates," he said.
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