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Kerala: Police identify WhatsApp group circulating child pornography, 3 persons including admin arrested

This information that a child porn group was operating in Kerala was initially traced by the UNICEF. UNICEF passed the information to the Interpol, which in turn forwarded it to Kerala's Additional Deputy General of Police (ADGP) Manoj Abraham, a report in Mathrubhumi has stated.

In a special drive conducted by the Kerala police with the help of Interpol, 30 people involved in circulating child pornography through a WhatsApp group have been identified and three persons, including the group administrator, were arrested in connection with the case.

Following the arrest, the Kerala police began investigating the case and followed it up with various police stations in the district. During investigation 30 other members of the WhatsApp group were identified.

According to a report by Mathrubhumi, the group members, all belonging to the age group of 22-45 years, are natives of Kuttippuram, Kalpakanchery, Vazhakkad, Manjeri, Edavanna, Areekode, Vengara and Nilambur.

“The members were added to the group under strict conditions. Only those who are acquaintances and interested to watch child porn were added into the group,” a Malappuram cyber cell official who is in charge of the case was qoted by Mathrubhumi.

Meanwhile, the officer also confirmed that over 300 people from Malappuram, Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kozhikode and several foreign nationals will also be booked in the case.

This information that a child porn group was operating in Kerala was initially traced by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF passed the information to the Interpol, which in turn forwarded it to Kerala’s Additional Deputy General of Police (ADGP), Manoj Abraham.

Following this, the Kozhikode Cyberdome and Changaramkulam police investigated and nabbed three members of the Whatsapp group including the group admin.

Kerala police registered cases against 58 for sharing child pornography as part of operation ‘paedophile-hunt’

Last year too, cases had been registered by the Kerala police against as many as 58 people for sharing child pornography with others through various social media platforms.

The crackdown was a part of operation ‘P-hunt’ (paedophile hunt) initiated by Cyberdome, a wing of the Kerala Police on June 11, 2019, wherein Kerala police, to curb the menace of cybercrime involving sexual attacks on children, joined hands with the Interpol, Crimes against Children Unit and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

Then too, the operation was led by the Additional Deputy General of Police (ADGP) Manoj Abraham under the supervision of Deputy General of Police (DGP) Loknath Behara.

Abraham said that when his team came across websites on the darknet they decided to launch the operation. Dark web or darknet refers to encrypted online content that is not indexed by conventional search engines.

He said that the team came across one such group which had a total of five lakh members, 126 of whom were from Kerala. Administrators of this group live in Pakistan and other European countries, added the police officer.

Though it was difficult to track members at first since they use fake identities and pseudonyms to conceal their identities, Kerala Police had trained with Interpol and other agencies and managed to crack down on the members of the group, revealed Abraham.

Recently India had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the USA to combat online child pornography. Last year, five such websites were shut down by the central government on receiving tip-offs from the cyber portal of National Crime Records Bureau. Five separate FIRs have been lodged against these websites under various sections of the Information Technology Act.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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