Will act against misuse of social media networks: DGP

MAJID NABI. Dated: 2/20/2020 11:27:52 AM

200 not booked for using VPN: IGP

SRINAGAR, Feb 19: Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh today stated that police will “act tough” against those found involved in misusing social media through Virtual Private Network (VPN) apps and will explore options if situation remains unchanged.
He said the service providers have so far not been able to block social media sites completely but the authorities are closely monitoring as to who make good use of social media and who misuses same.
“We are and will remain disregardful as far as misuse of social media is concerned. Stringent actions will be initiated against those found involved in misusing social networking sites. It is not that authorities are unaware of any activity. We closely monitor as to who makes good use of social media and who misuses it,” DGP said, addressing a media conference adding police is well aware of the use of loopholes (VPN).
He said this in response to the query whether the FIR lodged in cyber cell involves everyone who uses VPNs or against those who make misuse of social media as officials too post messages in official news groups to make people aware of the daily happenings. Singh said that police also knows that media people, to some extent, also make use of “these loopholes for using social sites”.
“We have evidence whereby social media was used through VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to tell militants to carry out attacks at certain places. On priority, we are targetting such misuse of social media,” Director General of Police told reporters here.
He said the Jammu and Kashmir administration had issued an order on January 14 banning the use of social media but the police was only going after those who were misusing it. “We are sharing information (through WhatsApp) with you which means we know that you are using it. We are keeping a vigil on the use of social media and will act against those who misuse it,” Singh said.
The DGP was responding to a question about the police spokesperson using WhatsApp to share press releases and send invitations for events including his press conference on Wednesday in spite of the ban on the use of social media.
“There have been several instances of misuse. For example, the driver of the truck which was carrying militants at Nagrota sent a photograph to his handlers in Pakistan the moment his vehicle was intercepted at the naka,” he said. “We have to differentiate between use and misuse... when someone misuses the social media, there will be no room for leniency. You should be thankful that you are able to use it,” he added.
On the use of internet VPN, the DGP said the police are aware that that people are taking advantage of the loopholes, despite the home department's ban on the use of social media. “There is a line between use and misuse,’’ he said, adding, “Government is keeping surveillance of the misuse of the internet.”
He said some people are using the social media and instigating militants. “We have proof of that,’’ he added.
The DGP said further relaxation on the use of internet will happen after the situation improves.
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir range, Vijay Kumar said that the report that police has registered case against 200 people is baseless. He said a general FIR has been lodged at Cyber Cell to bring those involved in vitiating peace by spreading rumours to book.
IGP said that despite orders of ban on use of social media, miscreants’ spread false information and also assist militants in carrying out attacks.
“We have proof that miscreants make misuse of social media through VPNs and spread rumours to vitiate peace and assist militants to carry out attacks. It is absolutely baseless that 200 people have been booked. We have lodged a general FIR and whosoever will be found involved will be arrested,” said IGP.
On Tral encounter in which three Hizb militants were killed, DGP said the security forces carried a successful operation in Sherabad village of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district and killed three militants of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen outfit.
He said that the slain militants were involved in civilian casualties and damaging public property in Tral Township.
Singh said three militants, belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen, were killed in an encounter at Tral in Pulwama last night. They have been identified as Jehangir Wani, Raja Maqbool and Uzair Bhat.
Jehangir was a dreaded militant who was involved in the killing of two civilians. He had also set fire to a mosque at Tral, Singh said.
On operations against militants, he said 23 militants—19 in Kashmir and four in Jammu—have been killed in various anti terror-operations in 2020 to date.
He said eight youth who joined militant ranks in 2020 have shunned violence and returned to the mainstream. “They have been reunited with their families,” he said.
On ceasefire violations at LoC, he said, “There are a large number of terrorists at the launch pads. Singh said despite the snow, all launch pads remained active this year to infiltrate into Kashmir whenever an opportunity came.”
“The number of ceasefire violations has increased after August 5 (2019). Pakistan is trying to keep the borders hot in order to push in as many terrorists as possible. While some attempts of infiltration have been successful, many have been foiled,” he said.
Singh further said a Pakistani drone recently flew over a BSF picket in the Ghagwal area of the Jammu region for around 10 minutes, but was pulled back after the troops of the border-guarding force opened fire.
He hoped that the visit of US President Donald Trump India would be passed off successfully.
“There are some apprehensions like always. Militants are still present in good numbers,’’ Singh said.
“We hope visit passes off peacefully. We will have security arrangements in place,” Singh said.
He said the cops will take all measures to ensure that militants are not able to carry out any subversive activity in the Union territory during Trump's visit to the country next week. He was responding to a question on intelligence inputs suggesting that terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed might carry out a major attack on the eve of Trump's visit to India.
The DGP said that the postponement of Panchayat by-elections is a government decision and there must be solid grounds for doing that.
While addressing a press conference here, he however claimed that two foreign delegations of diplomats witnessed normalcy in Kashmir during their visits.



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