R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Jan 11 - With Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing the need for improving cyber security, the Assam Police is also chalking out plans to deal with the issue and steps have been initiated for keeping close watch on the cyber space including the social media, while, cyber labs will be set up in all the districts in phased manner for better investigation of cyber crimes.
Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that in the recent meeting of the heads of the police forces of the states in Tekanpur in Madhya Pradesh, the Prime Minister admitted the threat faced by the country through the cyber space and called upon the police forces and security agencies to take effective steps to deal with the problem. Sources said that anti-India forces, radical groups and insurgents have been using the cyber space including social media to spread anti-India messages and to indoctrinate youths to join their fold, which has become a serious problem for the country and there is urgent need for maintaining close watch on the cyber space to deal with such elements.
Though the problem is still not so serious in Assam and other parts of the North East, the forces cannot be complacent as such attempts can be made by the anti-national elements. In Assam, so far, most of the cyber crimes are related to defamation of individuals, fraudulent withdrawal of money from accounts etc. But the possibility of the militants and other anti national forces trying to indoctrinate youths through the cyber space cannot be ruled out and the police and security agencies have to be on guard to deal with such problems. Sources further said that a close watch on the social media was kept during the publication of the first draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) to prevent rumour mongering, which could have led to serious law and order problem. Fortunately, because of the close watch maintained on the cyber space and on the ground, so far, no untoward incident happened after the publication of the first draft of the NRC.
However, sources maintained that the police and security forces cannot afford to lower their guards till the publication of the final NRC. A close watch on both the ground and cyber space will have to be maintained as the possibility of unscrupulous elements trying to create trouble by spreading rumours and false propaganda cannot be ruled out, sources added.
On the steps initiated by the State Police force to increase its capacity to deal with cyber crimes, sources said that at present, the Assam Police has cyber labs only in the headquarter of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). In the next phase, such labs will be set up in the seven ranges of the Assam Police and the ultimate aim is to set up cyber labs in all the districts to expedite investigation of cyber crimes and to improve monitoring of the cyber space. “There are a large number of young officers who are cyber savvy and their services will be utilized properly, while, officers from the level of sub inspectors and above will also be trained up. The Assam Police will also take help of major institutes, including Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), engineering colleges, etc., for capacity building to deal with cyber crimes.
Sources revealed that in addition to keeping a close watch on the social media, the Assam Police is also making efforts to use the social media to improve police public relation and only recently a suicide attempt could be prevented because of the use of social media.
Empowering the constabulary was another major issue discussed in the recent meeting of the police chiefs of the states and the Assam Police is also preparing a proposal for facilitating promotion of capable constables through competition and skill development of all the constables.