Saturday, May 25, 2024
HomeDelhiDelhi Police crack down on social media accounts of gangsters | Latest...

Delhi Police crack down on social media accounts of gangsters | Latest News Delhi

On March 1, a Facebook profile created in the name of Canada-based gangster Rohit Godara — who is associated with the infamous Lawrence Bishnoi — claimed responsibility for the brazen murder of scrap dealer Sachin Munjal alias Sachin Goda.

A screenshot of the social media profile of a gangster which has now been deactivated. (HT)

The incident that Godara’s purported post referred to was the February 29 killing of Goda, a resident of Gurugram, who was shot dead in front of his mother and wife outside an eatery in Rohtak. The social media post, written in Hindi, justified the murder by saying that the scrap dealer was a “bookie” associated with a rival gang, and was ignoring extortion calls. The gangster also warned “others” to pay heed to his calls, without specifying who he was referring to.

Unlock exclusive access to the story of India’s general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now!

Read here: Why wives of 3 gangster-turned-politicians missed husbands’ funeral

Soon after Godara’s purported post came to light, the Delhi Police special cell — the anti-terror and anti-gangster unit of the city police — swung into action by reporting his profile to Facebook and getting it blocked.

Godara’s Facebook profile is one of 175 social media accounts of gangsters that the special cell has identified over the past month, with 133 blocked or permanently taken down till Monday after the police flagged them as “provocative” and raised the issue with the concerned social media firm, senior officers aware of the crackdown said.

The special cell also provided the social media companies with sufficient evidence in the form of screenshots and links of objectionable posts, photographs, and videos, officers said.

“Of the 175 such social media accounts, we have already got 133 blocked… A majority of them were created using names of key gangsters from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan, such as Arsh Dalla, Lawrence Bishnoi, Davinder Bambiha, Hashim Baba, Himanshu Bhau, Jitender Gogi, Kala Jatheri, Kaushal Choudhary, Neeraj Bawana, Rohit Godara, and Sukha Kahlon,” special commissioner of police (special cell) RP Upadhyay said.

The special CP said that a dedicated special cell team regularly monitors online portals to identify the social media accounts of gangsters. “Those identified as inflammatory accounts are being reported so that they can be blocked. It’s an ongoing process,” he added.

Meta, the multinational technology conglomerate that owns and operates Facebook and Instagram, said they have an “extensive” process to determine which accounts violate their policies.

“We regularly evaluate organisations and individuals against an extensive process to determine those that violate our dangerous individual and organisations policy. We remove content posted by these organizations and individuals. We also discourage people from searching for these entities on Facebook and Instagram — if users search for designated entities, they may see an interstitial that deters them from accessing those results,” a Meta spokesperson said.

Promoting guns and violence

A special cell officer part of the crackdown said that the social media accounts were being used to promote a culture of guns and violence. “Several gangsters shared videos of criminals being escorted by armed bodyguards, travelling in a fleet of high-end sports utility vehicles. These gangsters claimed to lead a lavish lifestyle with an intent to influence innocent teenagers and use them to intimidate businessmen for extortion, and to carry out murders on their behalf,” the officer said, on condition of anonymity.

According to the officer, the crackdown began after a string of murders in Delhi and Haryana earlier this year, which were linked to gang wars or to businessman refusing to pay protection money.

On such incident, the officer said, was the murder of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Nafe Singh Rathee and party worker Jai Kishan, who were shot dead by a group of assailants in Bahadurgarh, Haryana on February 25. The officer said that soon after the murders, a social media account created in the name of fugitive gangster Kapil Sangwan aka Nandu — who is believed to be in the UK — claimed responsibility for the attack, and alleged that Rathee was an associate of his (Sangwan’s) arch-rival, jailed gangster Manjeet Mahal.

A second special cell officer said that other Delhi Police units, including the crime branch, have also been asked to monitor and flag the purported social media accounts of gangsters, adding that the process of blocking their profiles is a continuous exercise — new ones crop up every day.

“The frequency with which profiles bearing the names of gangsters pop up have led us to believe that gangs have started using organised social media teams,” the second officer said, also requesting anonymity.

“Apart from taking down objectionable social media accounts, we have also started the process of identifying people who create accounts that glorify gangsters,” the officer added.

Instigating followers

A third officer said that gangsters influencing teenagers and pushing them into a life of crime is a matter of particular concern for the police — the officer said that over the past several months, they have apprehended minors in connection with murders or attempt to murder cases that the children committed to gain the confidence and trust of gangsters.

“Many such teenagers we spoke to consider gangsters as local Robin Hoods suppressed by the system or society, who are fighting for the oppressed. Some of the social media accounts we got blocked had posts where individuals — mostly school- or college-going kids — expressed their admiration for the gangster concerned,” the officer said.

Read here: Delhi Police arrests three, claim to have solved 12 theft cases

“At times, these kids end up getting calls from their ‘role models’ and commit a crime to prove their worth. What follows them is a route from which there is hardly any turning back,” the third officer said.

Amit Dubey, a cybersecurity expert who has worked on cyber forensics with law enforcement agencies, said, “The proliferation of social media accounts linked to gangsters poses a significant threat to public safety and community well-being. These platforms serve as virtual breeding grounds for promoting violence, recruiting impressionable youth, and perpetuating criminal activities. Law enforcement agencies must adopt proactive strategies, including enhanced monitoring and collaboration with social media providers, to swiftly curb this dangerous trend. Simultaneously, social media platforms must strengthen their mechanisms for detecting and removing such accounts to mitigate their harmful impact on society.”

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments