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India asks WhatsApp CEO to comply with law of the land

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New Delhi, Aug 21: Sending a stern message to WhatsApp over unabated mob lynchings linked to the spread of misinformation on its platform, Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday instructed visiting CEO Chris Daniels to comply with the law of the land and take “suitable” steps to prevent misuse of the instant messaging platform.

Prasad, in a brief interaction with the media after meeting Daniels here, said he also directed the WhatsApp boss to appoint a grievance officer and establish a separate corporate entity in the country.

“WhatsApp has biggest footprint in India and has done a great job, be it in the field of education or helping people in Kerala floods. But I’m more concerned about the platform being misused for mob lynching and revenge porn. It has to find a technical way to deal with these issues,” the minister said.

“I have told WhatsApp to comply with the Indian laws, open a corporate entity and appoint a grievance officer here who can be reached to address such issues,” Prasad added.

Daniels, according to Prasad, assured him that the Facebook-owned platform will soon take steps on all these counts.

The minister also asked the WhatsApp CEO to work closely with law enforcement agencies and create public awareness to prevent misuse of the platform.

WhatsApp, however, did not issue any statement on the outcome of the meeting.

The meeting came against the backdrop of over 30 incidents of mob lynching in the recent past that were linked to the circulation of fake messages and misinformation on WhatsApp.

The Facebook-owned platform has over 200 million monthly active users in India.

WhatsApp was hauled up in July by the government on its failure to check the spread of fake and provocative content on its platform amid growing lynching episodes.

In a notice, the Ministry of Electronics and IT asked WhatsApp to come out with more effective solutions that can bring in accountability and facilitate enforcement of law in addition to their efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.

To tackle the spread of false information, WhatsApp has limited forward messaging to five chats in India.

IANS

India

2 terrorists, 4 Army personnel in killed Pulwama encounter

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Pulwama Encounter

Srinagar, Feb 18: Four Indian Army personnel and two terrorists were killed in an encounter in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian Army personnel of 55 Rashtriya Rifles, have been identified as Major VS Dhoundiyal, Havaldar Sheo Ram, Sepoy Ajay Kumar, and Sepoy Hari Singh.

Besides this, a civilian named Mushtaq Ahmad also lost his life in the gunfight.

A top Jaish-e-Mohammed commander linked to Pulwama Attack believed to be trapped in the ongoing encounter with security forces, news agency ANI reported citing sources.

The gunfight erupted on Sunday late night after security forces, including the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), surrounded the village following the information that Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants were hiding in the area.

The same outfit that carried out the February 14 attack claiming lives of nearly 40 CRPF troopers.

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Supreme Court sets aside NGT order allowing re-opening of Tuticorin plant

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Feb 18: The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the National Green Tribunal’s order which had allowed the reopening of Vedanta group owned Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin.

While setting aside the order on maintainability, a bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran asked Vedanta and Tamil Nadu government to approach the High Court and since the plant has been locked up for quite some time, they could urge the High Court Chief Justice for an expeditious hearing and interim relief.

On May 28 last year, the plant was shut down permanently when the state government had ordered the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to seal and “permanently” close the plant in aftermath of protests over pollution concerns.

The protests had turned violent, in which 13 people lost their lives in police firing on May 22-23 in Tuticorin.

The apex court judgement came on the TNPCB’s plea against the December 15, 2018, NGT order directing it to give its consent.

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Aircel-Maxis case: Interim protection of P Chidambaram, Karti extended till March 8

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 18: The Patiala House Court on Monday extended the interim protection of former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram till March 8 in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The ED is probing the Aircel-Maxis deal under the PMLA after taking cognisance of a 2011 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) complaint in the case.

On November 26, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had informed the Court that it has been granted permission by the central government to prosecute Chidambaram in connection with the case.

Chidambaram has denied all charges leveled by the central probe agency.

The agencies are investigating how Karti Chidambaram allegedly managed to get a clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in the Aircel-Maxis deal when his father P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister in 2006.

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