Lucknow: A day after a youth was killed in Kannauj,the constituency of Dimple Yadav, wife of UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, violence flared up.The situation was averse on Friday as told by the police.
Amid heavy police deployment in the district, mobs vandalized many business establishments in some areas including Makrandnagar and looted some shops.
Many vehicles that were passing by were also targeted.
Violence broke out in Kannauj late Thursday when a youngster was accidentally sprayed with dry colour (gulaal). His friends bashed up the youth though he tried to explain that this had happened as colour was being thrown during the procession to immerse the idols of Goddess Durga.
Many in the crowd later told the police that soon after people from a community started harassing some girls and women when the procession was at Lakhan Tiraha.
To disperse the unruly mob, Police Inspector Bhullan Yadav told the police to move the procession at speed, prompting people to bash him up. Senior police officials then rushed to the spot to control the situation but by then some miscreants fired at the procession from roof tops in the Chudi Wali Gali.
Mahesh Kushwaha and Apoorva Gupta received gun shot wounds. Gupta is undergoing treatment, but Mahesh succumbed to his injuries. Following the incident, religious procession and prayers were stopped as a mark of protest.
“Tension is high but the situation is under control,” a home department official told.
Some people have been arrested with regard to their role in the incident, the official added.
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.
“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.