August 21, 2012 / 2:57 PM / 5 years ago

India cracks down on Internet after communal violence

NEW DELHI, Aug 21 (Reuters) - India pressed social media websites including Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday to remove "inflammatory" content it said helped spread rumours that sparked an exodus of migrants from some Indian cities last week.

The government said in a statement it had already blocked access to 245 web pages it said contained doctored videos and images, and the telecommunications secretary, R Chandrashekhar, threatened legal action against the websites if they did not fully comply with the requests to take down the offending pages.

Chandrashekhar told CNN-IBN television that Google and Facebook had largely complied with the government's requests while the response from Twitter had been "extremely poor".

Twitter was not immediately available for comment.

"A lot of inflammatory and harmful content/information has been found to be appearing on the social networking sites hosted outside the country," the government statement said.

Thousands of students and workers from India's northeast fled Mumbai, Bangalore and other cities last week fearing retaliation for violence against Muslims in the remote tea-growing state of Assam after threatening mobile phone text messages and website images sowed panic.

Clashes between indigenous people in Assam and Muslim settlers from neighbouring Bangladesh have killed nearly 80 people and displaced some 300,000 since July. (Additional reporting By Ross Colvin and Satarupa Bhattacharjya in New Delhi and Harichandan Arakali in Bangalore; Writing by Ross Colvin)

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