New Delhi: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Thursday said that while the government favours freedom of expression, the mischievous use of this medium to foment trouble needs to be checked.
Addressing the three-day conference of Directors General of Police (DGPs) being held here from today, Shinde said: "As we move along the path of modernisation, newer challenges emerge. Government has succeeded in increasing the density and spread of internet connectivity right down to village level. This has made us prone to sophisticated cyber crimes and cyber attacks."
"Extensive networking of computer systems, particularly in sensitive areas has increased our vulnerability to such attempts from hostile elements. Security Agencies and Police forces would need to develop expertise for a coordinated response to counteract these problems," he added.
He further said: "Last year, social media was exploited by vested interests to generate fear amongst the people of the North East in Bangalore, which resulted in their exodus in large numbers."
"More recently, the Muzaffarnagar riots were fanned by similar misuse. Once again, I am glad that this Conference has taken up these issues as part of its agenda, to discuss in detail and find a way forward," he added.
On the subject of misuse of cyber space, Shinde said: "I would also like to draw your attention to the attempts being made to revive militancy in certain States by unleashing distorted narrative about emotive events and issues on the internet to mislead and misguide the youth."
"One such sinister attempt was nipped in the bud by an alert Punjab Police. It had come to notice recently that in Punjab some self-radicalised groups had made attempts to vitiate the atmosphere by targeting some important leaders," he said.
"We need to closely monitor such situations arising out of the pernicious propaganda circulating on certain websites," he added.