The Police Media Unit said 59 social media groups used to gather and encourage people to join the violent incidents on May 9 and their admins have been identified and steps would be taken to charge them under the Computer Crimes Act.
The police urged the public to inform police on their hotline 1997 or their email [email protected] regarding information on any such groups or individuals encouraging people to join such violence.
Police warned that instigating such violence or encouraging persons to engage in such violence is a punishable offence carrying a five year jail term under the Computer Crimes Act.
The Police Headquarters warned that under this Act those engaging in such activities that results in violence could be charged even if they are in Sri Lanka or overseas. Hence, the police warned the public to be cautious when forwarding such malicious content over social media and to act diligently.
The Police Media Spokesman SSP Nihal Thalduwa said that during this period since Monday, several groups have started engaging in criminal activities on the pretext of supporting the struggle.
He said that these groups have started damaging public and private property and also looting valuables found in these places. He said that some were engaged in revengeful acts over personal vendettas on the pretext of engaging in the protests.
Police have commenced investigations on such persons using the video images and CCTV footage at these locations that were vandalized and destroyed to initiate action against them. He also said that those who used social media to gather such groups and insight such violence would also be dealt with according to the law.
The police Spokesman therefore, urged the public to provide any video footage, photographs or information regarding those involved in such violence during this period.
Such information could be given to the police on their hot lines 1997 or 118 or photos and videos could be provided on – [email protected]
SSP Thalduwa also urged the public to inform the police if they have any information on attacks or violence being planned in the future. He assured that those providing such information would be strictly guarded.
He said that the police have been issued orders to shoot anyone who is found engaged in such destructive behaviour, causing harm to persons or engaged in looting.