New Delhi, Aug. 19: Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today asked his Pakistani counterpart for Islamabadís co-operation in bringing to book mischief-makers from across the border who had used the Internet to try and foment communal trouble in India over the Assam violence.
Yesterday Union home secretary R.K. Singh said intelligence agencies had traced the inflammatory postings and doctored images to sources in Pakistan.
Shinde today told Rehman Malik that Pakistan-based elements were misusing social networking sites to try and whip up communal passions in India and asked Islamabad to crack down on them. He said the provocative images and content had distorted reality, a home ministry spokesperson said.
Despite the immediate context of strain in which the two home ministers spoke after Malik called Shinde for the first time, the talks may have a positive consequence. Malik requested Shinde for a revival of the dialogue on a liberalised visa regime, a subject that was stonewalled in the last round.
Singh told The Telegraph that nearly 110 websites had been identified with morphed images that appeared connected with the violence in Mumbai and the exodus from Bangalore. A bulk of these had been uploaded from Pakistan, he said.
In the past 24 hours, 76 websites have been taken off the Internet by Indian agencies and 34 other websites identified.
Despite the concerns Shinde expressed, he greeted Malik warmly and conveyed Id wishes. He also asked about Pakistanís commitment to act against those behind the 26/11 attacks. Malik is said to have repeated that Islamabad was co-operating in full measure.
Malik touched on the subject of liberalising the visa regime after inviting Shinde to Islamabad. The impression conveyed was that Pakistan was now more positively inclined to agreeing to a visa agreement that would make travel easier between the two countries.
New Delhi had been suspecting that Pakistan was linking the visa agreement to the issue of demilitarising the Siachen Glacier at the instance of the Pakistani army.
In May, at the close of home secretary talks in Islamabad, Pakistan had backed out at the last minute from signing a new visa agreement that was being seen as a baby step towards a peaceful resolution of disputes.