SRINAGAR: A day after key security meeting chaired by J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and attended by top army and security officials reviewed security situation, the PDP-BJP coalition government on Wednesday banned 22 social media sites for a month in Kashmir.
In the official order issued by Principal Secretary Home R K Goyal, all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the Valley have been directed to stop transmission of messages through 22 social networking sites and instant messaging services for one month in the Valley.
The 22 social media and instant messaging services banned include Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, QQ, WeChat, Tumblr, Google+, Baidu, Skype, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Pinterest, Telegram, Reddit, Snapfish, Youtube (upload), Vine, Xanga, Buzznet and Flickr.
“In the interest of maintenance of public order, the government, in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (2) of the Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, read with the Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2007 hereby directs all ISPs that any message or class or messages 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 Valley with immediate effect for a period of one month or till further orders,” reads the official order.
While justifying banning of the social media sites and instant messaging services, the order said as per available inputs a progressively increasing trend was witnessed with regard to misuse of social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc by elements inimical to public order and tranquility, thereby impinging on public safety in the Valley.
“It was observed that some elements are transmitting objectionable contents to spread disaffection among public at large in Kashmir against the state administration and the security forces with a view to incite them to commit various offences at a large scale, cause damage to life and property and disturb peace,” it said.
The government order further disclosed that it was observed during the law and order disturbances in Valley last year 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 anti-national and inimical elements largely succeed in transmitting unverified objectionable and inflammatory material/content through the media of social networking sites and instant message services without any accountability, thereby endangering the public life and property and causing unrest/disharmony in the State. On careful examination of all relevant factors, it was observed that use of social media platform, which are being misused by anti-national and anti-social elements by transmitting inflammatory messages in various forms, are immediately required to be regulated and curbed,” added the order banning social networking and instant messaging services in the Valley for a month.
Kashmir has been tense after killing of eight civilians in security forces firing during bypolls to Srinagar parliamentary seat on April 9. The tension further escalated after security forces raid on a Degree College in Pulwama in South Kashmir on April 15 during which over 50 students were injured.
The students staged Valley-wide protests and clashed with security personnel on April 17.
After the student protests, the State government suspended 3G and 4G mobile internet services in the Valley on April 17 and since then the services have remained suspended.
Despite suspension of internet mobile services, there has been no let up in student protests. Even today students staged protests in Central, South and North Kashmir during which cops fired tear smoke shells and resorted to heavy baton charge to disperse the protesting students.
In South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, the students hoisted a Pakistani flag over the administrative wing of a college today.
On Monday, Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, was turned into a battleground due to massive clashes between protesting students and security personnel.