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As Child Lifting Rumours Continue to Kill, I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore Says WhatsApp Not Under Govt’s Control

The minister asked those using the mass messaging portal to be careful and understand the medium before using it.

News18.com

Updated:July 2, 2018, 9:02 PM IST
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As Child Lifting Rumours Continue to Kill, I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore Says WhatsApp Not Under Govt’s Control
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New Delhi: Even as five people were killed in Maharashtra following illicit messages circulated on WhatsApp, I&B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore has said that the messaging portal was beyond the government’s control.

In an exclusive interview with CNN News18, the new Information and Broadcasting Minister said, “WhatsApp cannot be regulated, but we can definitely get educated.”

The minister asked those using the mass messaging portal to be careful and understand the medium before using it.

The announcement comes after the death of at least 30 people in the past few days, all of them caused by angry mobs lynching people on the suspicion of them being child lifters. Most of these mobs were infuriated by false messages on WhatsApp.

On Sunday five men were beaten to death in a Maharashtra village when one of them was apparently trying to speak to a child. A crowd near these five men immediately pounced on them.

The culprit messages, circulated across states, contain a warning against child traffickers entering the towns and cities, which in each of these cases have caused enough tension among locals.

Speaking on the advent of social media and the challenges it may pose in India, Rathore added, “We have to learn to live with it and ignore it, but yes, no language should be used that is abusive.”

Targeting opposition Congress who have been regularly targeting the government over fake news on WhatsApp, Rathore said, “The Congress should not say anything. Congress should be the last party to talk about abuse on WhatsApp when they themselves are the perpetrators of such abuse. They are constantly using WhatsApp to malign PM Modi.”

The minister further added that leaders like Congress chief Rahul Gandhi are trying to claim freedom on social media but what is really important is to educate social media users.

On another note, referring to a recent comment by veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on the Kashmir situation, Rathore said, “Azad’s comments were in bad taste.”

Azad had earlier said that in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army was killing more civilians than terrorists during military operations.
The comment led to the veteran Congressman being meted with severe criticism and in fact, a case of sedition was also filed against him.
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