Monday July 16, 2018
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Boy lynched in Gurgaon over DJ request: This is not Gandhi’s India

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By Sapan Kapoor

We are a country of Mahatma Gandhi who gave the message of tolerance, brotherhood and non-violence to the world that was in the grip of incessant bloody wars in the early twentieth century. Ironically, 67 years after his assassination by a ‘Hindu nationalist’, we seem to be a nation that has gone mad, drenched with violence and intolerance from tip to toe.

Today, there is violence in our words, thoughts and actions. It’s everywhere. People seem to be gunning for each other like wild beasts for their prey and taking lives over as trivial a matter like parking at a wrong place or over music in a club.

On October 20, just three days ago, 22-year-old Rohit Bhardwaj was brutally beaten to death with hockey sticks after a scuffle at a party in Gurgaon over a request for the music to be changed. His father was also severely injured when he tried to rescue him. CCTV footage of this disturbing incident being shown on news channels can make one’s hair stand on end.

Rohit, a college student in Delhi and a resident of Gurgaon, had gone to attend a friend’s birthday party in a vacant plot in the New Subhash Nagar area in Gurgaon where around 20 others had gathered.

Police said a brawl broke out when Rohit asked the DJ to change the music and the latter refused to do it. A few of the drunken partygoers then attacked Rohit, brutally beating him up with hockey sticks.

When Rohit was being attacked, his father, Deepak Bhardwaj, reached the spot and tried to save him. But the boys did not even spare him, attacking the latter with sticks. The attackers thereafter fled the spot. Rohit’s brutal, heartrending murder was caught on camera which is enough to send shivers down one’s spine.

We should be losing our sleep over this growing intolerance and violence in our society. But, alas, that does not seem to be the case. People are being bumped off for their ideas, eating habits and the way of their life. 50-year-old Mohammed Akhlaq’s only fault was that he lived in a society where mob justice was ‘acceptable’.

If Gandhiji was alive today, he would have cried his heart out after seeing the level of intolerance and violence in a country for whose freedom he sacrificed his life. How right he was when he said that ‘violence is an invitation for more violence’ and that ‘an eye for an eye will turn the whole world blind’. If we all became zombies, who will be left?

Check out this video wherein a man can be seen shooting his acquaintance in the head in broad daylight in the middle of a narrow crowded lane in West Delhi’s Vikas Nagar.

The incident took place in June this year where CCTV footage shows a man alighting from a rickshaw when another man who at first seemed to be casually passing by started an argument.

The confrontation at first seemed unprovoked, but the visual shows the man taking out a gun and later shooting at the man twice, reminiscent of a typical Bollywood shoot-out.

The man was first shot in the chest and after being hit, he tried to run away but could not succeed. The killer kept standing there, observing the victim struggling for his life. After a few seconds, he shot another bullet into the man’s head, ensuring that he did not survive the attack.

All this happened in the heart of the national capital in broad daylight and nobody came forward to rescue the wretched man.

This is where the media has also failed to perform its job i.e. to educate the people about the ramifications of increasing violence and intolerance in our society. Media’s job is not only to disseminate information but also to show the people the right path shown to us by Mahatma Gandhi. There seem to be absolutely no debates and discussions on our 24/7 news channels about the moral degradation of and growing violence in the country.

We are, alas, a nation today where two Dalit children are burnt alive by members of an upper caste community, something that should make us hang our heads in shame. Why have things come to such a pass? And where are we heading to?

In these turbulent times when ISIS asks for a Caliphate, Taliban butchers school children in Peshawar, hundreds are killed and displaced in the name of religion, we need to introspect.

The big question that needs to be asked is: Are we still humans or have we lost it somewhere in the process of evolution?

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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WhatsApp Wrote To IT Ministry That It Is Horrified By Acts Of Violence

According to media reports, over 30 people have been killed in the past one year

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A bug is being forwarded via messages which when tapped, could send not just the WhatsApp Android app crashing but possibly even the entire Android device as well, the media reported.
WhatsApp Wrote To IT Ministry That It Is Horrified By Acts Of Violence. Pixabay

Taking cognisance of the Indian government’s concerns over the misuse of its platform for repeated circulation of provocative content, Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Wednesday wrote to the IT Ministry, saying the company is horrified by terrible acts of violence.

The IT Ministry on Tuesday asked WhatsApp to take immediate action and ensure that the platform is not used for such malafide activities over the growing instances of lynching of innocent people owing to large number of irresponsible messages filled with rumours and provocation circulated on the mobile messaging platform.

“Thank you for your letter dated July 2. Like the Government of India, we’re horrified by these terrible acts of violence and wanted to respond quickly to the very important issues you have raised. We believe this is a challenge that requires government, civil society and technology companies to work together,” WhatsApp said in the reply to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

WhatsApp, which has over 200 million monthly active users in India, listed several measures it is taking or has already put in action to control the spread of misinformation and abuse on its platform.

“We have been testing a new label in India that highlights when a message has been forwarded versus composed by the sender.

“This could serve as an important signal for recipients to think twice before forwarding messages because it lets a user know if content they received was written by the person they know or a potential rumor from someone else. We plan to launch this new feature soon,” the company informed.

According to media reports, over 30 people have been killed in the past one year by lynch mobs after rumours of child lifting triggered via messages on WhatsApp.

In Mid-May, said WhatsApp, it added new protections to prevent people from adding others back into groups which they had left — a form of misuse they thought it is important to correct.

WhatsApp Logo
WhatsApp Logo. Image source: Pixabay

“Last week, we launched a new setting that enables administrators to decide who gets to send messages within individual groups. This will help reduce the spread of unwanted messages into important group conversations – as well as the forwarding of hoaxes and other content,” the popular messaging platform noted.

WhatsApp has also announced a new project to work with leading academic experts in India to learn more about the spread of misinformation.

“The fact-checking organisation Boom Live is available on WhatsApp and has published some reports on the source of the rumours that have contributed to the recent violence,” the company said.

While WhatsApp messages can be highly viral, the way people use the app is by nature still very private.

“Many people (nearly 25 per cent in India) are not in a group; the majority of groups continue to be small (less than 10 people); and nine in 10 messages are still sent from just one person to another,” WhatsApp informed.

The company also asked to Indian government to talk further about the actions it is taking and its plans going forward.

“With the right action we can help improve everyone’s safety by ensuring communities are better equipped to deal with malicious hoaxes and false information — while still enabling people to communicate reliably and privately across India,” it noted.

Also read: WhatsApp Copies Telegram to Add One-way ‘Broadcast’ Mode to Group Chats

WhatsApp also announced to soon start an engagement programme with the law enforcement officials across the country so “they are familiar with our approach and how we can be helpful”. (IANS)