Not Very Smart - Eastern Mirror
Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Not Very Smart

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 12, 2018 12:48 am

The weeks of frenzied circulation of fake messages in social media circles especially in the multimedia messaging platforms about child lifters and human organ rackets finally culminated in the killing of two innocent men from Guwahati at a village in Karbi Anglong district. Even in Nagaland, the days prior to the incident, social media users had seen an increase in similar kinds of messages and it is highly probable that such rumours are related in some way. However the bottom line is that the incident at Karbi Anglong is not an exception in the long history of rising lynching incidents in India; it is but a part of it. It is also not the first case of the use of technology to spread false news. Although it happened at a different location among different groups of communities but still it indicates the growing intolerance among communities in the country.

Aided with technology and faster mode of dissemination of information actors play their part to create mass hysteria leading to similar cases all across the country. For instance, one among the mob even had the audacity to tell a friend of the victim that they had been killed and he would see it in the next day’s news. It indicates the collective conscience of the mob. For them, it was the right thing to do. While many in a mob are swayed by the situation due to the mass hysteria, it is always the main instigators who knowingly take advantage of such situations and start the hysteria or work on an existing prejudice. The March 5 incident at Dimapur in 2015 was also one such instance. It was for the law to judge if the accused was guilty but the circumstances and the public outrage leading to the lynching are similar. Almost everyone agrees that if only the accused was from another community the lynching would have been averted.

Although it can be just taken as a passing phase due to the onslaught of technology, how many innocent lives will be lost because everyone has access to smartphones these days. At face value, such incidents are the collective work of some very cunningly smart people misleading a crowd that is blinded by panic and rendered not smart—but all with smartphones. A close observation on the other hand might also indicate that it is not the medium and how quick it is but who are the players. The word of mouth is also an effective medium responsible for huge loss of lives in India. The government of the day in every state and at the Centre need to view it just beyond smartphones.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 12, 2018 12:48:33 am