New Delhi/Jalpaiguri/ (West Bengal)/ Katihar (Bihar): India on Sunday asked Pakistan to take action against miscreants in that country who are using social networking websites to spread panic among people from India’s north-east, which has led to their exodus from cities in the south and west back to their home states.

Social media websites are being misused by elements based in Pakistan to circulate doctored pictures and false stories to whip up communal passions in India, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde told his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik in a phone conversation. Shinde has sought Pakistan’s cooperation in this matter, the home ministry said in a statement.

The exodus is happening over fears of a backlash following recent conflict between Bodo tribals and Muslims in Assam that left 77 people dead. At least 35,000 have fled Bangalore and Mumbai in recent days and the Indian Railways has arranged for extra trains to accommodate the rush.

India’s National Technical Research Organisation, a technical intelligence agency, has identified 200 web addresses through which “hate messages" are being spread, which officials said have originated from Pakistan. The officials declined to be named.

These addresses have been given to Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the nodal agency for national computer security incidents, for further investigation. CERT-In has already blocked some 100 of these addresses in the past two days.

Meanwhile, police are investigating the deaths of two passengers on a Guwahati-bound special train from Bangalore early Sunday. The police found two dead bodies and seven injured near the tracks near New Jalpaiguri station in West Bengal, a railway official said.

The home ministry has requested the railways to stop running special trains to the north-east after this incident, two home ministry officials said, requesting anonymity.

The ministry had already issued an advisory to the railways and states to take precautionary measures for all Guwahati-bound trains passing through Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka and Kerala. Mint has reviewed the 11 August advisory.

“These trains were being escorted so that no untoward incident takes place," one of the two ministry officials quoted above said. “Now we have requested the railways to not to run the special trains from other states to Guwahati as it is adding to more problems."

AFP, Jacob P. Koshy and Shubham Shivang of Mint contributed to this report.

My Reads Logout