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'Damages will be recovered from rioters,' assures Pune District Collector

Speaking at a peace committee meeting, Saurabh Rao vowed that the Bombay Police Act would be used to extract compensation for losses caused to victims, from the mobs that had spread ‘terror’ and disturbed religious harmony last week

Speaking at a peace committee meeting yesterday, District Collector Saurabh Rao said that rioters who damaged public and private property last week would have to bear the losses for the same. People from Hindu and Muslim communities attended the meeting, which also saw the participation of several political leaders.

peace committee meeting
Meeying point: Policemen, citizens, and bureaucrats attended the peace committee meeting

“The mobsters, irrespective of the organisation they belong to, will face action under Article 51 of the Bombay Police Act, applying which the district administration would recover the losses of damaged property, whether public or private, from the protesters who damaged it,” said Rao.

District Collector Saurabh Rao
District Collector Saurabh Rao said using social networks is the new modus operandi of anti--social elements

According to the district administration, the total financial loss to public and private property in the violence amounted to Rs 46.78 lakh.

Angry mobs went on a rampage over morphed photos of late Sena chief Bal Thackeray, Chhatrapati Shivaji and other Hindu gods, which were shared on FB last week, and later circulated on WhatsApp.

“This is a new modus operandi used by anti-social elements, which is spreading terror among people. Such acts need no terror camps, and are spread just by posting a few morphed images, sitting in a cyber café,” Rao added.

He suggested that citizens should show maturity in dealing with what he called a new brand of terrorism, which is aimed solely at disturbing religious harmony.

Additional Commissioner of Police Chandrashekhar Daithankar said that it was not easy to trace the culprit who morphed the images, and then posted them to social networking sites. “The server for Facebook is located in USA. We usually reach the server through a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).

This process takes a minimum of 48 hours to delete a link. However, by that time it is already shared by the people with the help of various social networking sites,” said Daithankar. He added that strict action would also be taken against those who shared the link.

The police will also establish a citizen’s forum to tackle such incidents in the future. Citizens who came to attend the meeting also suggested ideas through which such anti-social activities could be curbed.

“To strengthen communication between the administration and citizens, regular meetings should be held. Messages from the district collector should be shown on local TV,” said Comrade Ajit Abhyankar. Professor Aziz Mohiuddin, a member of Jamat-E-Islami, said that his organisation had evaluated the financial losses incurred by citizens in course of the riots and would soon submit a report to Rao. 

Rs 46.78 lakh
Total financial losses caused to public and private property in the violence

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