The crackdown was conducted in 110 locations in all districts across the state, according to a press statement issued by the police.

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news Crime Sunday, June 28, 2020 - 09:51

In a massive crackdown by the Kerala police, 47 people have been arrested for publishing and sharing child sexual assault material online. The crackdown was carried out by Cyberdome, a technological research and development centre of the Kerala police, and is a part of the Operation ‘P Hunt,’ launched in the state for catching groups that share child sexual assault videos online.

In a statewide raid, the CCSE (Countering Child Sexual Exploitation) under the Cyberdome has also seized around 143 electronic gadgets. The raid was conducted in 110 locations in all districts across the state, according to a press statement issued by the police.

According to reports, IT professionals and a government doctor are among those who are arrested. Videos of children between the age group of six and 15 have been reportedly traced in the raids. 

“There could be all kinds of people, irrespective of their profile, who become a part of such groups. The groups are mostly Kerala-based. They work like peer groups of like-minded people,” an official of the cyber wing told TNM.

The highest number of cases were registered in Malappuram district (15). While five people were arrested from Ernakulam, four each were arrested from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

Those arrested have been charged under Section 67(b) of the Information Technology Act for the publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in a sexually explicit act in electronic form. Cyberdome official conducted simultaneous raids in all districts on Saturday. 

“It has also to be investigated whether the children are relatives of any of the accused. If so, they will be charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act as well. These people have been under surveillance for long, but the crackdown should be done in a single day simultaneously in all districts. If not, there won’t be any evidence. Even if the news is leaked by the media in the morning, there won’t be any evidence by the evening,” the officer added.

The team is investigating if there are any people from other states who are also members of those groups.

In a similar crackdown in October 2019, 12 people had been arrested. Those groups were also engaged on Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram.

“Telegram blocks scores of such groups on a daily basis, but that won’t stop people from making new groups,” the officer said.  

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