India probes cyberthreats against workers

Aug. 22, 2012 at 6:05 PM
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NEW DELHI, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- India says it is seeking help to identify the sources of doctored images on the Web and false text messages that drove people from various Indian cities.

Doctored images of violence on Web sites and spam text messages spreading rumors of attacks by Muslims on people from the northeastern state of Assam caused the mass exodus of tens of thousands of Assamese migrant workers from some southern and western cities in India during the last week, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

"Madam, do not get out of your house," one of the spam text messages read. "There is a lot of trouble. People from your caste are being beaten. Seven women have been killed in Yelahanka [a suburb of Bangalore]."

Indian officials said legal requests for assistance were being sent to the United States and Saudi Arabia since the computer servers of the Web sites carrying the photographs are located there.

Text messages spreading rumors of violence began arriving Aug. 15 warning of attacks by Muslims, purportedly in retaliation for recent violence in Assam against Muslim settlers from Bangladesh.

Muslim leaders denied any plans by the Muslim community for attacks.

The Indian government has imposed a temporary ban on bulk text messages and has closed down about 250 Web sites it said were encouraging people to flee.

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