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Active use of social media by insurgent groups raises concern for Indo-Bangla/Myanmar security forces

Written by Meghalaya Times. Posted in Front Page

Staff Reporter
SHILLONG, Nov 10:  A modern day technological marvel for many - Social media which has revolutionized  the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression has emerged as  one of the major challenges for security force in dealing with terrorism.
From Al-Qaeda being the first to use social media to ISIS, NSCN and ULFA and other banned militant outfits of Meghalaya like the GNLA and HNLC, social media is being used effectively to expand their influence, spread propaganda and recruit cadres.


India and Bangladesh shares 4,096 km long international border out of which the North East states share half of it. Meghalaya also known as the ‘save haven’ for militant organizations until recently had its own share of militancy problem to deal with.
The HNLC, the once dreaded militant group of Meghalaya which is considered as a ‘spent force’ by the police, is also taking to social media to spread propaganda and voicing out their political views. It wasn’t long ago when news of the HNLC making a comeback stormed social media platform like Facebook and Whatsapp with the outfit putting up posts like ‘Long Live HNLC’ in FB.
At present, while many of the leaders were either killed or have surrendered, few of them as per police inputs are languishing across the border in Bangladesh. 
Similarly, the GNLA which is said to be in its last leg with heavy crack down by security forces, intervention of churches and NGOs resulting in many of the prominent leaders laying down arms is also no alien to social media.
The last known information of the commander in chief, of GNLA, Sohan Shira was that he was undergoing treatment in Bangladesh. Like the HNLC, the GNLA also uses social media platform to propagate their ideologies and share their activities with the world. Last year, its C-n-C Sohan D Shira made headlines when he posted a Selfie of himself along with his cadres soon after they escaped a police raid in Garo Hills.
Combined concerted effort from the bordering forces of both the countries- The BSF and the BGB beside the security forces have been able to neutralize the cross border militant activity to a larger extend.
And while the guns might have fallen silent, the virtual psychological battle never stops. The warfare continues to rage on in the internet.
“While concerted efforts are put in jointly by the forces of the two countries against insurgency, social media is one of the major challenges in combating terrorism,” said Brigadier General of Bangladesh Army Md Mainur Rahman on the sidelines of the Indo-Bangla Joint Warfare Exercise held at Umroi Cantonment in Meghalaya.
“We are doing our bit to keep track of their illegal activities in the ground level and combat cyber-crime and terrorism,” Rahman added.
Rahman further said “We are trying to develop modalities for better coordination between the two armies by information sharing and standardizing the procedures”.


 

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