Mechanism needed to control social sites during strife: Naveen Patnaik

Naveen PatnaikNaveen Patnaik blames social networking sites for spreading rumours during communal riots. (PTI Photo)

Deploring recent communal tensions, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday demanded an oversight mechanism to "control" social networking sites in critical situations as sensitive messages posted spread like wildfire.

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He said the Centre should also "promptly" provide armed forces on request from states concerned along with other logistics and developmental support to effectively control communal tension.

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This assistance should be based on an objective appreciation of ground realities and not be influenced by political considerations, he said.

With social networking sites being blamed for spread of rumours during the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, Patnaik said, "An oversight mechanism to prevent and control such mediums (the social networking sites) in critical situations is the need of the hour."

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"Government should take appropriate initiative in this regard without affecting the general principles of freedom of speech and expression," he said at the meeting of the National Integration Council (NIC) here.

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His speech was circulated at the meeting in his absence.

The Chief Minister said all efforts should be directed towards curbing the growth of regionalism and parochialism in the country as they are a big challenge to national integration.

"There are a few fissiparous tendencies in the country fuelling divisive forces. Among these, most prominent are the religious divide, regional divide, ethnic divide and the socio-economic divide," he said.

Noting that the NIC meeting has been convened at a time when the country has been affected by serious communal incidents, Patnaik said it was a matter of concern that "communalism continues to raise its ugly head periodically, straining the social fabric of the country".

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