K’taka police to now file criminal cases against those sharing violence-inciting messages

The Karnataka police also stated that a special task force be constituted to identify sensitive areas, and people prone to sharing such news.
K’taka police to now file criminal cases against those sharing violence-inciting messages
K’taka police to now file criminal cases against those sharing violence-inciting messages
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On July 17, the Supreme Court had laid down guidelines on the measures to be taken to prevent incidents of lynching, mob vigilantism and mob violence. Following this, the Karnataka state police has now issued a circular stating the actions to be taken to implement the directive.

The circular, dated October 3, has been issued by the Director General and Inspector General of Police, Neelamani N Raju, to all commissioners and district Superintendents of Police. According to the circular, it is a criminal offence to disseminate “irresponsible and explosive” messages, videos and other material on social media platforms, which can potentially incite mob violence and lynching of any kind. An FIR under section 153A of the IPC and/or other relevant provisions of the law will be registered against such persons.

It also states that the nodal officers should constitute a special task force to procure intelligence reports about the people who are likely to commit mob violence and lynching or who are involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news. They should also hold regular meetings, at least once a month, with the local intelligence units in the district, along with all Station House Officers of the district to identify such sensitive areas.  

The circular also directs that areas prone to such incidents be identified within two weeks. “Police patrolling in sensitive areas is to be increased keeping in view the incidents of the past and the intelligence obtained by the office of the ADGP Intelligence,” reads the circular.

The nodal officers have also been directed to personally monitor the investigation of such cases and ensure a charge-sheet is filed within the statutory period from the date of FIR registration or arrest of the accused.

The officers should also ensure the family members of the victim are not further harassed. “The victim or the next of kin of the deceased in cases of mob violence and lynching shall be given timely notice of any court proceedings and he/she shall be entitled to be heard at the trial in respect of applications such as bail, discharge, release and parole filed by the accused persons. They shall also have the right to file written submissions on conviction, acquittal or sentencing,” directed Neelamani Raju, Karnataka’s first woman DGP.

If a police officer or an officer of the district administration has failed to comply with the directions in order to prevent, investigate and/or facilitate expeditious trial of any crime of mob violence and lynching, it will be considered as an act of deliberate negligence and/or misconduct and appropriate action will be taken against the officer.

In July, four men were lynched by a mob in Karnataka's Bidar, based on the suspicion that they were child kidnappers. A 32-year-old techie Mohammad Azam was murdered that day, and his friends were badly injured.

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