first_img “We follow up our campaign against rumours, fake news, crime against women, drugs, social prejudices such as mob violence and witch-hunting with counselling, so that people get a chance not to repeat their mistakes,” Mr. Singh said.Among those receiving counselling is Mujibur Rehman, 18, who was detected committing nuisance in a burkha during Rath Yatra in southern Assam’s Badarpur. “We hope he will use his talents and courage for better things in life,” the Assam Police tweeted with several hashtags including #LifeInPoliceNeverCeasesToAmaze.  “The Chief Minister (Sarbananda Sonowal) had some time ago sought better policing through active interaction between the police and the public. The trigger for the social media campaign was the lynching of Abhijeet Nath and Nilotpal Das,” Harmeet Singh, Additional Director General of Police (modernisation-logistics) told The Hindu.The State police’s engagement with smartphone and internet users began with two WhatsApp numbers soon after a mob in central Assam’s Karbi Along lynched Abhijeet and Nilotpal on May 31. The force received a deluge of information on the two numbers, leading to the arrest of 40 people within 48 hours.It wasn’t until end-June that ‘Nagarik Mitra’ (citizen’s friend), the State police’s Smart Social Media Centre headed by Mr. Singh, decided to be witty with its campaign.A team threw ideas about, worked and reworked on the copies to come out with lines that appeal.The team had a similar pun-filled campaign by the Mumbai police in 2016 to work on, but intended to be different while targeting the “right kind of people”. The latest in the campaign, against stalking women, reads: “For every unwanted compliment you give a lady, we have a complimentary legal action ready for you.”“There’s no harm in fighting crime and social prejudices with a dose of humour from creative minds in the force. We believe in social media engagement, not social media monitoring, and this helps us interact or engage with people better,” Kuladhar Saikia, the State’s Director General of Police, said.The level of engagement helped the police take against a traffic policeman in southern Assam’s Barak Valley within 15 minutes of a Twitter complaint that he was extorting money from vehicles. And on Tuesday, a Facebook upload helped the police talk a minor girl out of her plan to commit suicide. The Assam Police are driving home a serious message to potential law-breakers with a bit of wit via social media.Sample this: Sharing rumours/hate messages online can enable you for a date with us in nearest police station this weekend.And this: Mobs may not follow the law, but the law will follow them. If you hit, the law won’t miss.These messages through Twitter and Facebook – the force has just opened its Instagram account – are part of the Assam Police’s ‘Think’ campaign in three hashtag segments — #ThinkBeforeYouPost, #ThinkBeforeYouHit and #ThinkBeforeYouStalk.In about a month after the launch of this campaign, the Assam Police Facebook page and Twitter handle have together garnered 17.25 lakh followers and counting. Among the fans and re-tweeters are Bollywood stars such as Ajay Devgn, whose screen cop avatar is Singham.last_img

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