Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav on Saturday advocated temporary ban on social networking sites to check rumour mongering in view of exodus of people hailing from the northeast from various parts of the country.
Talking to reporters in New Delhi, he also hit out at the central government's "inept handling" of the situation arising out of the ethnic violence in Assam.
"Why has the government not asked these social networking sites to disclose the names of those who first uploaded such inflammatory messages... These sites should themselves come forward to help the country track down these anti-social and anti-national forces... If they don't volunteer, the government should temporarily suspend these operations in national interest," he said.
He noted that the freedom of expression cannot be allowed to destroy the very foundation of the country's freedom itself.
"The violence in Assam and its fallout in other parts of the country leading to the exodus, has completely exposed the inept handling of the situation. If the state government ignored all warnings and signals and mishandled the situation in the first place, the central government failed to foresee the hidden hand behind these riots and the worsening situation," Yadav said, adding he was shocked to see the "helplessness" of this "incompetent" government.
"It even failed to visualise the magnitude of the problem in the first place and devise a proper plan to take firm action against anti-social and anti-national elements, who used the social networking sites to spread canards," he said.
Yadav said the government's order to ban bulk SMSes won't suffice and demanded to know who are the people spreading rumours through the social networking sites.
"Why has the government not tracked down those elements, who used the bulk SMSes to spread these rumours," he said.