April 2017 News

Govt Bans Social Media To Enforce Calm In Kashmir

26 April 2017
Rising Kashmir

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday banned 22 social networking sites and applications including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter in Kashmir for one month stating that they were being misused by 'anti-social elements' by transmitting inflammatory messages in various forms. The ban will be in place for a month or till further orders, whichever is earlier, said an order issued by Principal Secretary (Home) R K Goyal. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been asked to stop transmission of around 22 social networking sites in Kashmir with immediate effect. These sites include Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, QQ, We Chat, Qzone, Tumbir, Google , Baidu, Skype, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Pinterest, Telegram, Reddit, Snapfish, You Tube (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 Section-5 of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 read with the Indian Telegraph (Amendment ) Rules, 2007 hereby directs all Internet Service Providers (ISPs), that any message or class of messages to or from any person or class of persons relating to any subject or any pictorial content through the social networking sites shall not be transmitted in Kashmir valley, with immediate effect, for a period of one month or till further orders,' the government reads, adding that any violation of the order shall be dealt with in accordance with the relevant provisions of law. The order states that as per available inputs, over a period of time, a progressively increasing trend has been witnessed with 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 Kashmir valley. 'It has been further observed that such elements are transmitting objectionable contents, to spread disaffection amongst public at large in Kashmir Valley against the state administration and the security forces, with a view to incite them to commit various offences at large-scale, cause damage to life and property and disturb peace and tranquility; and whereas, it is being felt that continued misuse of Social Networking sites and instant Messaging Services is likely to be detrimental to the interests of peace and tranquility in the State; and whereas, it was also observed during law and order disturbances of 2016 in the Kashmir valley that such 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; and whereas, such elements largely succeed in transmitting unverified objectionable and inflammatory material-content through the medium of these Social Networking sites and Instant Messaging Services without any accountability, thereby endangering pubic life and property and causing unrest-disharmony in the State,' the order said. It said on careful examination of all relevant factors, it was observed that the use of social media platforms which are being misused by anti-social elements by transmitting inflammatory messages, in various forms, are immediately required to be regulated-curbed; and whereas Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 read with Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2007, inter-alia confers powers upon the Central Government or the State Government to take possession of licensed telegraphs and order stoppage of transmission or interception or detention of messages. 'It was also observed during law and order disturbances of 2016 in the Kashmir valley that anti-national and subversive elements extensively misused social media sites and instant messaging services for vitiating peace and instigating violence, which caused large scale damage to life and property,' it added. The move comes against the backdrop of repeated student protests in Kashmir, which the authorities believe are fanned through social media. Some days back, a police official had said that 350 WhatsApp groups were being used to spread rumours in Kashmir and the government had cracked down, shutting 90 per cent of these groups. The mobile internet services were suspended in Kashmir on April 17, following widespread student protests in the valley against highhandedness of government forces.