Ayodhya verdict: How cyber cops kept the calm

Updated: 12 November, 2019 08:39 IST | Faizan Khan | Mumbai

State cyber police explain how they took down social media accounts from across the border aimed at fomenting trouble

Ayodhya residents read the newspaper for reports on the case verdict
Ayodhya residents read the newspaper for reports on the case verdict

Within two days of the historic Ayodhya verdict, Maharashtra Cyber Cell has pulled down hundreds of inflammatory comments from social media. The team monitored sites, most originating from Pakistan, in realtime, immediately pulling down material that had the potential to cause trouble.

There were also many Twitter handles across India that shared messages of peace and love. According to the State Cyber Cell, 141 dedicated Twitter handles from different locations in Pakistan were involved in tweeting hateful content with #BabriMasjid #DemolitionBabriMasjid #UglyIndia #GhazwaEHind #nahichahiye5acre #justiceforindianmuslims #RIPIndianJudiciary #BlackDay #Twonationtheory #IndiaAgainstMuslim #RSSKaIndia etc.

"As we undertook real-time monitoring of such content by keeping a very close eye on Twitter handles from Pakistan with help from social media companies. Such hashtags and content have been blocked immediately. We noticed that a lot of inflammatory content came from Pakistan and it got thousands of likes and re-tweets within minutes," said a cyber cell officer.

Police to initiate action against online hate mongersSocial media was flooded by inflammatory content

Some Twitter handles also compared the Supreme Court's verdict with the Kartarpur corridor, slamming it for not respecting religious sentiments unlike what Pakistan had done with regard to the Sikhs. Hashtags like #KartarpurToKhalistan2020 #Khalistan2020 etc were used. One Twitter handle named Major General Asif Ghafoor from Pakistan posted, "The world has yet again seen the true ugly face of extremist India. Today through verdict on Babri Mosque after illegal action for paper status of IOJ&K on 5 Aug 19. On the other hand, Pakistan today respecting other religions has opened #KartarpurCorridor for Nanak Seweks."

His tweet received more than 25,000 likes and 8,700 re-tweets after which he also uploaded a video that said, "Today all minorities of India should have again realised that vision of our great leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah about Hindutva was absolutely right. They would now regret more convincingly to be part of India."

Messages of peace and love with the hashtags such as #ISupportSC #WeWelcomeSupremeCourtVerdict #AyodhyaJudgement #SupremeCourtVerdict #HinduMuslimBhaiBhai #AyodhyaVerdict etc. "Some accounts have welcomed the verdict but they were not satisfied with the verdict. People have their opinions," the officer added.

“A lot of inflammatory content has been pulled down by the dedicated teams working specially for the Ayodhya verdict. Their data has been preserved and shared with local police stations to identify and initiate action accordingly," he added.

"We have been monitoring social media very closely post Ayodhya verdict. Dozens of social media accounts were actively involved in trending hateful content to disturb peace and communal harmony in India,” said Balsingh Rajput, SP, Cyber Cell, Maharashtra.

Some precautionary awareness against this had been undertaken before the verdict too. “It worked really well with people actively involved in sharing peaceful messages," said Brijesh Singh, Special Inspector General of Police, Maharashtra.

No. of dedicated Twitter handles from Pakistan involved in hate comments

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First Published: 12 November, 2019 07:45 IST

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