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Social media sites blocked in Valley for a month, public order cited

The decision to block social networking sites was taken a day after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired a meeting of the Unified Command Headquarters in Srinagar.

Written by Mir Ehsan | Srinagar | Updated: April 27, 2017 11:20 am
kashmir, kashmir unrest, kashmir protest, kashmir student protest, srinagar student protest, whatsapp blocked, facebook blocked, social media, social media block, mehbooba mufti, mufti government, pellet firing, human shield, kashmir human shield, indian express news, india news The order to block the sites was issued by R K Goyal, Principal Secretary in the Home department. Source: Shuaib Masoodi

Moving to contain transmission of “objectionable contents to spread disaffection amongst the public at large” and “inciting them to commit various offences”, the J&K government decided Wednesday to block 22 social networking sites including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube across the Valley for “one month or till further orders, whichever is earlier… in the interest of maintenance of public order”.

The decision to block social networking sites was taken a day after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired a meeting of the Unified Command Headquarters in Srinagar. Days earlier, the government had blocked 3G and 4G services on Internet mobile.

Sources said that at the UCH meeting Tuesday, several officials asked the government to block social networking sites, pointing out that these were being used to upload videos and photographs of the current unrest in the Valley.

The order to block the sites was issued by R K Goyal, Principal Secretary in the Home department. According to the order, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, QQ, WeChat, Qzone, Tumblr, Google+, Baidu, Skype, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Pinterest, Telegram, Reddit, Snapfish, YouTube (upload), Vine, Xanga, Buzznet and Flickr will be blocked for “one month or till further orders”.

“On careful examination of all relevant factors, it is observed that the use of social media platforms which are being used by anti-national and anti-social elements by transmitting inflammatory messages in various forms are immediately required to be regulated/curbed,’’ the order stated.

The order cited Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act which “confers powers upon the Central government or the state government to take possession of license telegraphs and order stoppage of transmission or interception or detention of messages”.

The government directed “all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that any message or class of message to or from any person or class of persons relating to any subject or any pictorial content through the following social networking sites shall not be transmitted in the Kashmir Valley, with immediate effect, for period of one month or till further orders, whichever is earlier”.

The order stated that “as per available inputs, over a period of time, a progressively increasing trend has been witnessed in regard to misuse of social media like Facebook, Twitter etc by the elements inimical to public order and tranquility, thereby impinging on public safety, particularly in the Kashmir Valley”.

“It has further been observed that such elements are transmitting objectionable contents to spread disaffection amongst the public at large in Kashmir Valley against the state administration and the security forces with a view to inciting them to commit various offences at a large scale, cause damage to life and property and disturb peace and tranquility.”

“It was also observed during law and order disturbances of 2016 in the Kashmir Valley that anti-national and subversive elements, inter alia, extensively misused social media sites and instant messaging services for vitiating peace and instigating violence, which caused large-scale damage to life and property,” the order stated, adding that “anti-national and inimical elements largely succeed transmitting unverified objectionable and inflammatory material/content through the medium of these social networking sites,” the order stated.

The opposition National Conference slammed the government for banning social media in Kashmir. Farooq Abdullah, NC patron and Srinagar MP, said: “The continued blockade of Internet will seriously affect our businesses, especially youth-oriented new start-ups in the ecommerce sector that depend primarily on Internet accessibility and penetration. This will in turn lead to an increase in unemployment as the private sector, especially the tourism sector, will be severely hit. Using such measures to suppress dissent against a deeply unpopular government is as futile an exercise as that government continuing to be in power despite being rejected by the people of the state.”

Abdul Hamid, owner of an automobile company, said: “My entire business is done via WhatsApp and other social networking sites. This decision will drastically impact my business. This also reflects the frustration of the government.’’

A Facebook user posted: “I am supposed to face a Skype interview to attend one month summer school in Istanbul Turkey. Democratic process of engagement.’’

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  1. H
    Apr 27, 2017 at 5:07 pm
    Name any region in the world or in our neighbourhood , the demography has changed hugely in the last 100 years . Most places are having a multiethnic po tion . It is to be noted stan has done some engineering and now patans are majority in baluchistan . Kashmir valley is closed to any indians , this is the root of todays problem . Abolish any restriction in kashmir valley for other indians to settle .It will solve all problems .
    1. V
      Apr 27, 2017 at 2:02 pm
      We really ought to do away with all the pre-1950 acts
      1. K
        Kamal Pasha
        Apr 27, 2017 at 1:55 pm
        Short and sweat comment instead of big sermon. This action of blocking social media sites proves India is loosing in Kashmir.
        1. S
          Apr 27, 2017 at 11:26 am
          the more u repress the more they will liberate kashmir - and more will spread hatred for bRAWmins today only three army people killed - so non bRAWmins getting sacrificed to dave sanghi agenda people should pull out from military police and join citizens labelled as kashmiris naxals etc
          1. Sudarshan Nityananda
            Apr 27, 2017 at 10:51 am
            A good decisive move for a change. Both terrorists and unruly students are using the INternet for nefarious purposes. Better to disrupt their communications and make things smoother for our Army. Don't restore such services till the situation comes back to normal for at least 3 months.
            1. M
              Apr 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm
              a lot of good moves have been taken in the past by congis. Now by very very good moves by BJPs
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