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Hyderabad: Youngsters of the city will now help the Hyderabad City Police fight rumours and misinformation and thereby, become part of the efforts to maintain law and order and to thwart attempts at disturbing peace in the city.

This move is part of the efforts of the City Police to revamp the peace committees here, which have been playing a crucial role in maintaining harmony in Hyderabad.

“The objective of having youngsters in the peace committees is to help the police immediately respond to rumours on social media platforms and nullify those. Youth are hyperactive on social media platforms and can promptly clarify on any rumour spread on SM platforms,” City Police Commissioner CV Anand said.

At every police station level, a peace committee is being formed with the Commissioner directing police officials to see that at least 50 per cent of members of these committees were youngsters, comprising students and working professionals. The local police are already training such persons in identifying fake news and ways to counter those.

“During a crisis, peace volunteers will identify false propaganda or fake news on social media platforms about their locality and counter those by replying promptly with current information. At the same time, they will report the account to the authorities to help in blocking and banning such accounts,” officials said.

The concept of peace committees is an age old practice for the Hyderabad City Police. Hitherto, community elders, religious heads and local social workers were accommodated in the committees to help bridge the gap between the authorities and common man and the local population as well.

With the social media being used more to fan trouble through fake information about violence or trouble or attacks targeting a particular community or group, the police decided to have peace committees with more youngsters so that trouble can be nipped in the bud itself.

“If the fake information is identified and nullified on the social media platform itself, there remains little scope for misinformation to spread into public and cause panic,” Anand said.

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Author: Howard Caldwell