In the wake of mob lynching incidents triggered by rumours spread through social media, the Uttar Pradesh police have decided to recruit “digital volunteers” at every police station in the State to curb rumours and bust illegal activities.

Under this initiative, 250 digital volunteers will be recruited at each of the 1,469 police stations. They will operate through popular social media application WhatsApp.

Tackling misuse

The police said they were alarmed by the misuse of social media by “anti-social elements” who were spreading misleading reports, pictures and videos to disrupt law and order and social harmony.

“Innocent people have even lost their lives due to the rumours in some States recently,” the Uttar Pradesh police said in a statement.

Director-General of Police O.P Singh launched the initiative here on Thursday.

The WhatsApp group of digital volunteers in each thana will be linked to the district-level WhatsApp groups, which will be linked to the DGP headquarters.

The volunteers will be picked from a variety of backgrounds and professions, and must be socially influential, active on social media and of a clean image, the police said.

Their main task will be to assist police in rebutting rumours with facts and putting them in the public domain personally or through WhatsApp groups. They will also be asked to provide information on illegal businesses.

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