With 4G and 3G services already suspended in occupied Kashmir, Indian authorities are now likely to impose a ban on Facebook and WhatsApp, reported the Firstpost.
The decision has supposedly been made to stop videos and pictures of atrocities being committed by Indian security forces against Kashmiri protestors from going viral.
This is the third time in two weeks that India has stopped internet services in the valley.
A senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader said, “We have advised chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to shut Facebook and WhatsApp groups responsible for spreading rumour and circulating videos. Facebook is used to circulate videos that raise passion and mobilise crowds.” He further added that this opinion was also shared by security agencies.
Last week, a video showing a Kashmiri youth being used as a human shield by the Indian army in the Himalayan valley surfaced online and caused much rage.
The clip showed a young man tied in front of an army vehicle in what seems to be an apparent attempt to shield the Indian army from protesters. In the background, an army soldier could be heard saying, “Those who throw stones will meet the same fate.”
On Monday, as reports of protests started coming in from different parts of Kashmir, the Indian government issued a directive asking telecom operators to shut off mobile internet services.
This, according to sources, was also done to prevent students from uploading videos on social networking sites showing protests.
Around 100 students were injured as Indian police used batons and tear gas to try and quell protests that broke out in the main city of Srinagar before spreading to other parts of the Kashmir valley.
All universities, colleges and higher secondary schools in held-Kashmir have been closed since Monday after hundreds of Kashmiri students clashed with Indian security forces during protests against a police raid on a college.
Sajad Ahmad, the owner of a hotel in the Rajbagh area of Srinagar said, “the priorities of the government are wrong. Do you think by blocking the internet service or only allowing 2G will help it, no! There was no internet when the militancy erupted in 1989.”
“As Pakistan is ready to go 5G, we in J&K have gone 2G. Mufti’s vision taking final shape,” Khalid Gul, a reporter with the Greater Kashmir newspaper, wrote on Facebook.
Kashmir has been divided between Pakistan and India since the end of British rule in 1947. Both claim the territory in its entirety.
Armed encounters between separatists and security forces have become more frequent since Indian security forces killed Burhan Wani, a popular separatist leader, in July 2016, sparking widespread unrest.