A day for restraint, not knee-jerk reactions

Even as you read this, Yakub Memon will likely be hanged at the Nagpur jail for his role in the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. The city is naturally on edge after days of high drama and debate over the hanging. In an age when intense scrutiny due to social media and the press is now par for the course, discussions and opinions fly thick and fast, polarised points of view are in your face and everything is magnified.

Keeping this in mind, we need to be extra responsible and cautious today. Let us be careful what we speak, what we tweet and what we post. Let this not be confused with freedom of expression. Spreading baseless rumours, sparking alarm with thoughtless tweets and stoking the fires of communalism with problematic posts need to be avoided at all costs.

While the debate over the hanging may go on for long, everybody must strive to see that they do nothing to exacerbate the tension in the city.

This is a time of Instagram and instant news but also instant problems. It takes a spark to start a conflagration. Instead, one must strive towards as calm a response as possible, actively avoid sending baseless chain messages even if intentions are good warning people of this, that and the other.

Today, we have a tendency to spread information through WhatsApp. While the app is useful to connect people, it is also a medium through which false, morphed images are routinely shared and mischievous rumours are spread like wildfire.

Yesterday, even as the sentence was being pronounced, phones started ringing off the hook about what the situation would be in the city. That is the speed with which news now travels in the city and a barometer for just how wary and careful citizens are today, naturally wishing to avoid being caught up in any problems.

Help the police today by practising the big R responsibility. Do not make their job tougher than it is. Co-operate with added checking or frisking, if that happens. Drive responsibly and do not misconstrue situations and events. Do not be swayed by sweeping political statements. Common sense, restraint and maturity is key to calm.

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