Social media can be a great enabler in finding the truth and even chasing down criminals. With more than 63M people spending their time on Facebook, the Kerala Police thought of jumping on it and seeking help from the netizens. The move to join Facebook was to speed up the process of getting justice to late Head Constable Maniyan Pillai. It is believed that Maniyan was stabbed to death on June 25, 2012 by ‘Adu’ Antony. Thanks to Nikhil Narayanan who shared the initiative with us, which was also covered by The Hindu.
The Facebook page which has garnered support from more than 822 fans was launched earlier in the weekend by the Commissioner of Police, Kollam, Debesh Kumar Behera. The incident happened last year when Maniyan challenged a van that is believed to be driven by Antony, an accused in scores of burglary cases in South India. During the incident Maniyan’s supervisory officer, Assistant Sub-Inspector Joy, survived the attack with disabling injuries.
The 49 year old man who is believed to be Antony also tops the list of Kerala’s most-wanted due to his criminal history. Apart for being traced in this case, Antony is also allegedly married to 20 impoverished women whom he met through matrimonial advertisements in newspapers. The man who is also known for donning various looks, living under various identities and always on the run, was last seen in Shirdi, Maharashtra in early 2013.
The Facebook page right now is sharing the pictures of Antony along with his different looks and urging people to help the police department to nab the guy.
A decisive move to reach out to a larger audience, inform people about such criminals and expect some quick leads. At a time when Facebook is being used by terrorist organizations to recruit people, I believe that the Wanted board in the police station has come a long way.
It is just not the Kerala Police that is exploring the medium but in the past we have seen Bangalore City Police nabbing eve-teasers over Facebook and SP of Haveri giving nightmares to the thieves. Last year we also saw the effectiveness of Delhi Traffic Police nabbing 22,000 traffic violators through Facebook. Efforts like this should be picked up by other state bodies and departments to mint the powers of social media.