Assam: Facebook authorities urged to block Ulfa


GUWAHATI, June 21, 2018: The authorities of US-based Facebook have been requested by Assam police to block Ulfa (Independent)'s account.

The request comes as the banned outfit opened a new account hours after the first one was blocked by the police.

Additional director-general of police (security) Harmeet Singh told the media on Wednesday that the police have written to Facebook nodal office in New Delhi through the Centre in a bid to prevent the outfit from using the social media platform for unlawful activities.

"They (Ulfa) changed the IP (Internet protocol) address soon after we blocked the first account. So we have written to the Centre to request Facebook office to ensure that the outfit can't open an account," said Singh, who was recently asked to work out a plan to check social media misuse.

Ulfa (I) had announced on Friday that it had created a Facebook account to make social media a part of its "revolutionary journey as an experiment". The foray is seen as the outfit's attempt to go beyond its conventional line of communication with people, which was limited to emails or telephonic interviews to print and electronic media.

Many became "friends" within hours of opening of the account, named Ulfa Swadhin. Some even shared their phone numbers on the wall of the first account, expressing their willingness to join the outfit.

This worried the state police and it registered a suo motu case. The development came amid the police's "cyber patrol" following the lynching of two youths in Karbi Anglong district on June 8, which was aided by rumours swirling on the social media.

"Normally, when similar request is made to authorities of a social media platform like Facebook, Twitter or Youtube against disturbing or objectionable posts, sometimes they delete the posts or remove the video in question but in some cases they do not pay any heed. But since this account is related to a banned organisation and has the possibility of breach of peace and law and order, we hope they will act on our request," Singh said.

Director-general of police Kuladhar Saikia, after inaugurating a training programme on terror crime investigation at the state police headquarters here, said steps had been initiated regarding the Facebook account. The training, organised by the National Investigation Agency, will continue till Friday.

Ulfa (I) on Wednesday posted a statement on Facebook, paying tribute to cultural icon Bishnu Rabha on his death anniversary. It had earlier posted a video of its armed cadres talking about the recent killing of a sub-inspector of Assam police and abduction of a tea garden worker from Upper Assam's Tinsukia district.

The page, with a logo of the outfit, has a background photograph of its leaders, including "chief of staff" Paresh Barua and chairman Abhizeet Asom, sitting in chairs and cadres standing behind them at an undisclosed location.

Featured image: Representation