Bengaluru: The three mystic monkeys that embody the proverbial thought, “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” have found a new friend, according to the Bengaluru City Police. A photograph shared on the police’s Twitter page depicts not three but four monkeys—the fourth one representing, “Post no evil.”
The ongoing water war between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over the sharing on Cauvery water has led to a series of bandhs (shutdowns), isolated incidents of violence and street protests. This in turn led to rumour-mongering all across social media, fanning anger in both the states.
Misinformation and mischievous reporting caused chaos and violence in Bengaluru in the aftermath of the SC order that Karnataka supply Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, police commissioner N.S Megharikh told Mint on 15 September, saying that media reports and video footage of Kannadigas being assaulted in Tamil Nadu, proved to be extremely provocative.
To be sure, this is not the first time that social media has proved to be such an incendiary tool. Yet, social media has also proved to be a hugely empowering tool. During the floods in Chennai last year, for instance, social media, especially Facebook, became an effective disaster management tool. As intermittent power and water logging made it impossible to access news via traditional means, information was exchanged over social media. And while the occasional hoax did pop up, Facebook was instrumental in coordinating much of the rescues and rehab efforts in the city. And the social media network activated a Facebook check that enabled anxious families to find out about the the well-being of their loved ones.
In the recent Cauvery discord too, the Bengaluru city police too, mobilized Twitter to quell rumours and disseminate important information, “Kindly do not heed to baseless rumours..validate with @BlrCityPolice,” was one of the tweets from the police twitter account that has around 314k followers. The police also mobilized the account to nab mischief-makers, asking the public to share photos or videos of rioters with them.
“Social media has two sides to it,” agreed Megharikh in that same interview with Mint, “If it can be destructive, it can be constructive too.”