The Indian government has imposed a limit on bulk SMS messages to reduce the spread of misleading and potentially dangerous information. According to the Times of India, the temporary limit will be in place for a total of 15 days and will only allow citizens to send up to five messages at once, but no more. The decision comes as thousands of people are leaving cities across the country to return to their homes in the northeastern states, following a series of ethnic clashes.
"If there are people who are fanning these rumours, I think they should be brought to book."
The New York Times reports that, while the violence began in the state of Assam, a series of rumors and threats spread via text messages and social media sites has created a panic amongst those native to the northeast. The messages reportedly included doctored videos and other information warning of attacks by Muslims on those of northeastern origin. More than 300,000 people have reportedly left their homes in search of safety, while at least 78 have died in the clashes so far.
In a statement, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that it was the responsibility of the government to make those from the northeast feel safe. "If there are any miscreants," he said, "if there are people who are fanning these rumours, I think they should be brought to book."