The Delhi government is considering to issue a WhatsApp number on which people can complain about hate messages being circulated on the messaging application in wake of the communal violence that claimed 42 lives in northeast Delhi, sources said on February 29.
Authorities will invoke provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act to take strict action against those who is found circulating hate messages on WhatsApp.
Sources said the government would also make an appeal to people to not forward any such message because forwarding any material that causes enmity among communities is a crime.
The move is aimed at dealing with rumours on social media.
"If anyone receives any such material, he can immediately make a complaint to Delhi government stating the name and number of the person who forwarded that message," a source told PTI.
The government is considering to issue a WhatsApp number on which such complaints could be made. An official will screen all the complaints made and genuine ones will then be forwarded to the police for necessary action, according to the sources.
Whoever is found circulating hate messages on the instant messaging application will face action under sections 153A and 505C of the IPC under which there is provision of punishment of up to three years, fine or both, an official said.
Authorities will also invoke provisions of the IT Act against such offenders.
Action is taken under Section 153A for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth and Section 505C for making, publishing or circulating any statement, rumour or report with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community.
The violence in Jaffrabad, Maujpur, Babarpur, Chand Bagh, Shiv Vihar, Bhajanpura, Yamuna Vihar areas of northeast Delhi has claimed at least 42 lives and left over 200 injured.
A large number of properties have been damaged. Frenzied mobs torched houses, shops, vehicles, a petrol pump and pelted stones at locals and police personnel.