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Cyber-space has become a tool of terrorists: Shinde

New Delhi: Cyber-space has become another tool in the hands of terrorists who post "motivated rumours" in social networking sites thereby creating a new challenge to the security forces in the country, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said here today.

"There is increasing evidence of resort taken by terrorists to the cyber-space domain. The recent incident in Bengaluru in Karnataka, Pune in Maharashtra and other states of the country where motivated rumours and irresponsible use of the social media networking media posed a new challenge," he said addressing the country's top police brass here.

Sushilkumar Shinde. Reuters

Shinde, who took over as the Home Minister on 1 August, said cyber-space by providing a pervasive infrastructure for discreet communication is proving to be a facilitator for the malevolent seeking to enlist new recruits and to purvey a distorted version of the reality.

"Anonymity that the user acquires in this medium can sometimes test the capacities of even the most experienced police investigator. Police forces will have to develop skills in this area not just for locating malicious content but also for identifying those responsible for posting it," he said inaugurating a three-day long conference of Directors General and Inspectors General of Police organised by Intelligence Bureau.

There was no mention of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in his speech.

Shinde asked the security agencies to take "prompt notice" of every piece of intelligence as it is received to tackle the continuous thrust of Pakistan-based Islamist groups to infiltrate terrorists and hardware across the border and Line of Control.

"I would urge you to take prompt notice of every piece of intelligence as it is received, develop capacities for addressing the threats posed by terrorism, share experiences and create an overall milieu of collaboration wherein there should be no distinction between central agencies and state police forces as they work together towards achieving the common objective of curbing terrorism," he said.

He lauded the agencies for busting 19 terrorists modules across the country since January 2011.

On the issue of Left-wing extremism, Shinde said Naxalism continues to pose "significant challenge" as confidence levels of Maoists are exhibited in their ability to move in larger formations, hold 'jan adalats', obstruct thoroughfares and recover levies.

"Naxalism continues to pose a significant challenge. Seven states are experiencing different levels of intensity of this problem. However, nearly 80 per cent of Naxal violence is taking place in less than 30 districts and many of them are close to inter-state boundaries," he said.

The Home Minister said there are indicators about increase in the number of trained and armed cadres, reorganisation of military potential for formation of new battalions, and the creation of well-developed indigenous capacity for accretion to their arsenal.

PTI