Police should catch rioters, not ban Orkut

On the heels of my last post about why India should NOT ban Orkut, comes this confirmation from the Hindustan Times:

Maharashtra police want restrictions on Orkut

An attack by the Shiv Sena on cyber cafés in a suburb on Mumbai’s eastern fringes last week has prompted the state and Central governments to mull a ban on Orkut, a popular social-networking site operated by the Internet company Google.

On Friday, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team in New Delhi will decide if it should accept a report sent to it by the Thane police recommending restrictions across India on Orkut, designed in January 2004 by Turkish software engineer Orkut Buyukkokten.

The Team was formed in 2003 under the Information Technology Act by the Central Ministry of Information and Technology to regulate online content. It can block websites it deems offensive.

Controller for Certification Dr N Vijayaditya told HT: “We have to study the police report before we come to a conclusion.”

And this:

Thane Deputy Commissioner of Police Anup Kumar Singh said: “While we await a report from the agency, cyber café owners in the region have been asked to request customers to refrain from using the website.”

This is like telling a kid “You can open the refrigerator if you like, but I request you not to eat the candy that’s kept in the upper shelf of the door”!

Why doesn’t the police take any action against the rioters, who caused destruction of private property, harassed cyber cafe owners, and thus broke the law?

I ultimately have faith in our judiciary who will never let a ban on Orkut prevail in India. But the brazenness of the police is still shocking.

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