The Hyderabad City Police is reportedly stopping people in certain hotspots of the city and going through their WhatsApp chats to find words like 'marijuana', as a measure to crack down on the usage and sale of the drug in the city. First reported by Hyderabad-based Urdu daily Siasat, the Hyderabad Police has set up these checkpoints at various parts of the city including Jummerat Bazaar, Bhoiguda Kaman, Dhoolpet, Mangalhat, and so on. As per the video, the cops, working in three different shifts, appear to be stopping people whom they consider to be 'suspicious', checking their motorcycle or scooter, and asking for their phones. "We are checking people's phones. If we find any chats related to ganja, we are sending them to the police station," said a police constable at a checkpoint to Siasat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4bCUC6Xhh4&t=1s The Hyderabad City Police has had a history of introducing tech-related invasive measures that seemingly do not have any legal backing. For instance, in 2019, officials of Hyderabad's South Zone (Charminar and other areas) used facial recognition on random citizens. Recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic's second wave, Telangana police took up drone surveillance to maintain lockdown measures. Operation started months ago: Hyderabad Police official In the West Zone of Hyderabad, especially the Mangalhat area which is purportedly notorious for the sale of ganja, the West Zone police deployed 5 teams in 67 identified hotspots. "So initially in the very first days, we caught hold of 100 young boys who came to buy ganja. What…
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