Narendra Modi directs security agencies to deal strictly with those trying to fan communal tensions online and in person

  • 'Isolate the divisive forces' is the message from PM Narendra Modi to the top brass of the security agencies and state police forces

  • The prime minister wants senior officers in the government machinery to lead from the front, which will bolster the morale of the forces at all levels in strictly dealing with anti-social elements

  • As per government data available for three years — 2015, 2016 and 2017, a total of 2,274 communal incidents were reported from across the country in which more than 290 people were killed

New Delhi: "Isolate the divisive forces," is the message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the top brass of the security agencies and state police forces. This is also seen as a warning to anti-social groups whipping up hostility and creating a ruckus on various emotive issues. Modi, in a closed-door meeting with senior officers, has directed not only increasing coordination meetings with members of various communities, but also enhancing the scope of such meetings by including measures to promote young leaders, who can help in good governance and bring positive development in the concerned group.

The prime minister wants senior officers in the government machinery to lead from the front, which will bolster the morale of the forces at all levels in strictly dealing with anti-social elements.

Those involved in organising violent agitations will be dealt firmly and the prime minister added that incident-analysis as well as dialogue with mobilisers will be initiated in order to generate goodwill and also make the protesters rethink violence in future agitations.

 Narendra Modi directs security agencies to deal strictly with those trying to fan communal tensions online and in person

File image of Narendra Modi. PTI

"This will help us zero in on troublemakers among the protesters. The prime minister has also directed the organisation of two to three functions annually in every districts to honour the best investigating officers, while inviting eminent personalities from the area," a senior official privy to the meeting told Firstpost.

As per government data available for three years — 2015, 2016 and 2017, a total of 2,274 communal incidents were reported from across the country in which more than 290 people were killed. As per existing mechanisms, the Centre has been sharing intelligence, sending alerts and advisories to states from time-to-time on important developments that having a bearing on communal harmony. There has been a demand from Central security agencies to strengthen constabulary-level policing to effectively tackle such situations. The prime minister, in an earlier meeting with top security officials, had mentioned that the methods to fight wars were changing and internal security had become an important aspect of attacks from other countries.

"Innocuous messages on social media raising contentious issues could potentially become explosive for the social fabric," Modi had told the officers last year.

To address this crucial issue, Modi has directed the setup of a dedicated 25-member-strong group — comprising personnel with a technical background — for surveillance in the virtual world and in-depth handling of the rise in cyber crime. There have been 5,297 cases of cyber fraud (worth above Rs one lakh each) targeting bank accounts. Through these, more than Rs 223 crore was siphoned off by criminals in the past three years while 83,000 cases of fraud below Rs one lakh were reported in the past two years. These say Rs 113 crore robbed by cyber criminal gangs.

A large number of cases have also been reported about the misuse of social media platforms and mass messaging services like WhatsApp by criminal networks to incite violence. Besides, there is also a need to carefully classify cyber assets of law enforcement agencies involving data related to digital evidence, forensic reports, VIP security, investigations, personal information, Call Data Records and intelligence reports. There is also tremendous difficulty faced by security agencies on account of servers of popular sites being located outside India with encrypted data and unshared keys having no backdoor entry.

The absence of a proper regulatory framework and the tedious process of accessing evidence from foreign countries is another major obstacle. The need of the hour is the benchmarking of requisite skill sets, identification of specialised training centres for cyber security and standardisation of cyber tools to help the state police in capacity-building to meet the challenges of security cyber communication. There has been a long-standing demand for 24/7 social media monitoring and sharing of tools developed by Central agencies with the dedicated units at district and sub-divisional level.

The prime minister wants this dedicated district-level team to focus on cyber security issues, analyse the contents of WhatsApp groups and social media to prevent untoward incidents. According to some officials who attended the meeting, Modi's focus in the field of changing security dynamics is on strengthening personnel skills in the next three years.

"The prime minister has suggested that similar dedicated teams should be formed in other areas of security that will help in increasing capabilities by 2022. He has asked the states to focus on raising Special Forces that could become role model for the new generation," officials said.

Updated Date: Aug 12, 2019 09:22:50 IST