India State Government Blocks Social Media Access, ISPs In Restive Kashmir

Kashmir Human Shield

A screenshot from a video showing Indian security forces using a Kashmiri protester as a human shield. The video sparked outrage after being widely disseminated on social media last week.

The Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday blocked nearly 22 social media websites alongside internet service providers for a period of one month or until further notice to get a grip on the escalating protests and clashes in the conflict-ridden region.

The state government issued an order signed by the principal secretary in the state’s home department notifying the internet service providers to block transmission in the region. Among those blocked were WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Skype and Viber.

The state had already snapped the mobile internet services in the valley on April 17, the Wire reported. At the time, the video footage showing a young man tied to the front of an army vehicle being paraded in a village located in central Kashmir’s Budgam district went viral among other violent incidents that were shared widely over social media.

The order also stated that the social media was being used by “anti-national and subversive elements” for “vitiating peace and tranquillity” in the state, according to the New York Times.

A member of parliament Dr. Farooq Abdullah said the communication blockade will cause havoc in the lives of the local population and the state’s economy rendering thousands jobless, Kashmir Observer reported.

“The continued blockade of the internet will seriously affect our businesses and especially youth-oriented new start-ups in the e-commerce 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,” Abdullah said.

He criticized the move by the state government, a coalition between the Jammy and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party and the Bhartiya Janta Party.

“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,” he concluded.

© teleSUR


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