India has blamed ‘rogue’ elements in Pakistan for using social networking sites to create panic, leading to the exodus of North-Easterners from some Indian cities. It sought Pakistan’s co-operation in checking and neutralising such elements.

On Sunday, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde spoke to his counterpart in Pakistan, Rehman Malik, and expressed concern over the issue of social networking sites being misused by elements based in Pakistan to circulate false pictures and stories to whip up communal sentiments in India, a Home Ministry release said.

This was the first direct contact between the two Ministers after Shinde took charge as Home Minister.

Assuring full co-operation in the matter, Malik invited Shinde to Pakistan to sign the revised visa agreement agreed to by both sides.

On Saturday, Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh had said “a total of 76 Web sites were identified where morphed images were uploaded and bulk of these were uploaded in Pakistan”.

The UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi came out strongly against the situation in North-East saying it was “shameful”. She asked the Centre and State Governments to take “stern action” against those disturbing social harmony.

The Opposition, however, termed as “shocking” the Home Ministry statement blaming elements in Pakistan for creating panic among people from the North-East. Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav accused the intelligence agencies under the Home Ministry for “sleeping”, as “such an act has not been planned in a day or two …”

Meanwhile, the exodus of panic-hit North Easterners abated on Sunday in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, while security was beefed up in most cities for Eid celebrations on Monday.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 20, 2012)
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