A convoy of state police personnel patrol an area of Bangalore. (AFP)
The Bangalore police has made elaborate security arrangements to ensure a peaceful Eid-ul-Fitr in city, which was tense last week as baseless rumours led to the departure of many students and workers from the North-East.
The city's Police Commissioner Jyoti Prakash Mirji said all the city's policemen were on duty to ensure peace in the city today. "Exhaustive bandobast
has been made. All the 17,000 policemen of Bangalore city, including myself, will be on duty," he assured Bangalore.
In addition, Commissioner Mirji said, "We have got three companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and three Rapid Action Force (RAF) companies. They will also be assisting the local police. And we have got 25 KSRP platoons and 35 CR platoons. With this, we have got 1500 policemen who have completed 7-8 months of training - they are also with us. And 500 Home guards have already been deployed. We are expecting another 100 Home guards. So all these policemen will be deployed. We have got pickets, patrolling Number of peace committee meetings have been conducted... each one has said they will ensure the peace as Bangaloreans are peace lovers." The police chief appealed to traders, shopkeepers, vendors, hoteliers and eateries to keep their business establishments open on Monday to ensure people could buy what they needed.
Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka, who also holds the Home portfolio, reviewed the law and order situation and deployment of additional forces in Bangalore and other cities across the state with top police and government officials yesterday. "As evident during the past three-four days, peace prevails in Bangalore and our entire police force is on 24x7 duty across the city to provide protection to the nine-million denizens, especially those from northeast who felt threatened by mischievous elements and hate propaganda by outside forces," Mr Ashoka told reporters.
After Union Home Secretary RK Singh revealed on Saturday that morphed online photos which created a scare among the North-East community here originated from Pakistan, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar appealed to all the people who had left the city since August 15 to return, reiterating that there was no threat to their safety.
"Thousands of North-East people who rushed to Assam and other Northeast states fearing attack should return soon and get back to studies or work as the city is peaceful and full protection will be given to them as others," Mr Shettar said.
An initial report by the government, which NDTV has gained exclusive access to, shows how social media was used to spread panic among people from the North-East living in different parts of the country. The report says that a socio-political Pakistani group may have begun the process of doctoring images and spreading them across social networking sites like Facebook; a few Indian groups, though, are also suspected to have played a role. The report further says that pictures of earthquakes in Thailand and Tibet were morphed and circulated that triggered the panic.
The report goes on to say that the uploading and circulation of the online content containing morphed images began on July 13, around the time when the ethnic clashes in Assam began; they led to almost 80 deaths and displaced over four lakh people.
The government report has also found that fake profiles were created around the end of last month to push the online content aggressively on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to reportedly provoke violence. Several Indians have been found to have created these fake profiles to circulate pictures and link clashes in Myanmar and Assam.
The reports further states that an extremist group "is waging an online campaign after the outbreak of violent clashes in Myanmar." The report also details how some right-wing extremists retaliated once the campaign of morphed pictures started.
Over 70 websites that were allegedly circulating inflammatory content have been blocked by the government, says the report. Seven people have been identified out of which three have been arrested for spreading rumours that spread quickly through the north-eastern communities of cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore.