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India Blocking Social Networking Sites and Websites To Curb Violence

Spurred by the current violent clashes for the past few weeks between Muslims and Bodos in some parts of the country, the government of India is blocking up to 250 social media accounts and web sites as part of the ongoing attempts to check the spread of inciting rumors believed to be designed to cause sectarian violence.

For the past month, immigrant Muslims and ethnic Bodos have been in frequent violent battles. The violence sparked rumors that spread bulk SMS messages announcing reprisals against Indian migrants living in the north-east part of the country, especially those living in Pune, Bangalore, and Mumbai.

The malicious bulk messages created a mass exodus of the populace and prodded the government to ban bulk SMS messages.

The Indian government also discovered that a similar rumor-mongering campaign is being staged in the web, with falsified images and videos being proliferated to cause violent Muslim reprisals.

The government immediately responded by taking out 130 of the sites spreading false rumors, while planning to do the same for over 100 more sites. The government however is having difficulty taking action against sites and individual social media accounts created outside of India.

At the moment, Indian authorities are seeking assistance from the US Department of Homeland Security and other agencies after social networking sites like Facebook refused to take action on contents uploaded by non-Indian users.

Indian news agencies suggests the malicious campaign to instill fear among the targeted communities are being spread by Pakistani hard-liners.

However, Pakistani authorities deny any hand in the said campaign of fear.

“I was told by India’s home minister that they have information about the situation in Assam that the SMS creating panic were sent from Pakistan,” Pakistan home minister Rehman Malik said.

Malik assured the Indian government that if they can substantiate that the messages originate from Pakistan, the Pakistani government will investigate the matter.

If this is true, this is going to the the first time these rival countries will come across a new battlefield in their ongoing territorial and cultural dispute that has been going on for years now. Hacktivists from both sides have blamed each other for  DDoS campaigns and web site defacement in the past.

A statistic by local CERT shows that there have been over 7000 recorded web defacements for .in domains this year, while almost the same number has been tallied for .com domains in the subcontinent.

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