Social Media Continuously Monitored Since Ayodhya Verdict, Says Top Cop

The top cop of the state said despite the verdict coming out last week every district is on a "high state of preparedness" and no untoward incident has been reported so far.

Social Media Continuously Monitored Since Ayodhya Verdict, Says Top Cop

OP Singh also talked about some other measures deployed to counter any nefarious or mischievous activity.

New Delhi:

The Uttar Pradesh Police is on constant alert mode "as long as required" and also keeping an eye on various social media platforms to quell rumours and fake messages in the wake of the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya case, Director-General of Police OP Singh said on Tuesday. 

He added that 70 people have been arrested for rumour- mongering in the state and more than 270 social media accounts reported for further action. 

The top cop of the state said despite the verdict coming out last week every district is on a "high state of preparedness" and no untoward incident has been reported so far. 

"The eight police zones are working at macro-strategic levels. Additional DGs are effectively coordinating action among zonal districts along with CAPFs and other departments in their jurisdictions," he said. 

"At the district level, each district has been divided into zones and sectors for focused response. We shall be on alert mode for as long as would be required," OP Singh told PTI in an interview. 

The Director-General of Police (DGP) said a special team has been tasked to check messages and contents being published on various social media platforms in order to quell rumours and counter them with facts. 

"We have a social media cell at the headquarters (in state capital Lucknow) which is headed by a Superintendent of Police-rank officer. 

This cell coordinates with district social media cells. They take cognisance of messages tagged to them, or even otherwise, and get the objectionable content removed and follow up with necessary legal action," he said. 

All major platforms, OP Singh said, are being monitored. 

"Fake news is quickly verified and a rebuttal issued, often by district SPs. Advisories against spreading rumours have been issued from the highest level. We have arrested more than 70 persons and reported more than 270 accounts," the DGP said. 

In addition, he said, about 3-lakh digital volunteers have been roped in to report fake news and to disseminate the factual version. 

A dedicated number--8874327341-- has been publicised where people can report motivated or fake posts, he said. 

Despite the Supreme Court verdict of paving way for the creation of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya and grant of a 5-acre land for a mosque coming last week on November 9, the security monitoring drills are still being conducted round-the-clock, he said. 

"Every day, we review confidence-building and law and order situation from the headquarters through reports, video conferences and direct contact. Our objective is to have enough show of force to act as a deterrent and to work through specific intelligence, of course, with the cooperation of members of the public," the DGP said. 

Counter-measures:

OP Singh also talked about some other measures deployed to counter any nefarious or mischievous activity. 

"We have activated the zonal sector scheme and asked all officers and men to be continuously mobile and keep checking various sensitive areas. Quick Response Teams have been activated."

"Social media teams are working round-the-clock to ensure monitoring and removal of objectionable content and also to disseminate timely information. Close watch is being kept on identified potential troublemakers." 

"I have also directed them to keep communicating with all stakeholders and to address their concerns, if any. Contingency schemes are also in place, " the DGP said. 

Police strength:

"We have deployed 228 companies of PAC (provincial armed constabulary) and 40 companies of CAPFs along with civil police and home guards in the state," he said. 

Asked about the strength of police booths in Ayodhya district, he said 21 companies of Central Armed Police Forces, 40 companies of PAC, anti-terror squad (ATS) and bomb detection and disposal teams have been deployed in addition to the civil force, he said. 

A CAPF or PAC company has an operational strength of about 100 personnel. 

Preventive measures:

OP Singh, who has been heading the UP Police force since January last year, said the police had taken pro-active and preventive measures in the state in anticipation of the Ayodhya verdict from the apex court. 

"During this month alone, 326 illegal arms were seized and 2 arms factories busted. To prevent misuses of licenced arms, 1,72,610 licensed arms have been checked so far and 57 arms licences suspended."

"This has sent a stern message to anti-social elements. 

Similarly, preventive action has been taken against more than 65 thousand potential troublemakers," OP Singh said.

Asked if there are some specific directions to the police force to ensure law and order is maintained, OP Singh said he has given some explicit directives. 

"No procession or victory celebration are to be allowed. Rumours should be quickly quashed and the concerned brought to book. We will not tolerate any attempt to breach public order. We are appealing to everybody to respect the verdict of the honourable Supreme Court," he said.

The DGP said they were using technology to making "effective and efficient decisions" on the ground. 

"We have also used past data to identify hotspots and design patrolling routes for our PRVs (police response vehicles). 

"An integrated control room in every district, where police and magistracy will co-ordinate a response, has also been set up," he said.

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