Indian authorities block social media in IOK after clashes

By AFP
Published: April 26, 2017
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DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ KHAN

DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ KHAN

Authorities in Indian Occupied Kashmir on Wednesday ordered internet service providers to block popular social media services including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp after an upsurge in violence in the region.

The local government said the services were “being misused by anti-national and anti-social elements” and should be blocked for one month or until further notice “in the interest of maintenance of public order”.

It is the first time the government has taken such a step, although it regularly blocks the mobile internet signal in the volatile Kashmir valley.

Police fire at student protesters in Indian-held Kashmir

Indian-held Kashmir has been tense since April 9, when eight people including seven students were killed by police and paramilitaries during by-election violence.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the Kashmir valley, one of the world’s most heavily militarised spots where most people favour independence or a merger with mainly Pakistan.

Clashes between rebels and government forces have become more frequent since the killing of a popular leader, Burhan Wani, by security forces last July sparked widespread unrest.

Authorities responded by imposing a curfew, suspending mobile networks in large parts of the territory and seizing newspapers to try to quell protests.

They say social media are being used increasingly frequently to rally crowds which then attack government forces, often by throwing rocks at them.

Social media are also being used by both sides in the conflict to spread images and video footage in a growing war of information.

A video released on social media sites earlier this month showed a man tied to a jeep being used as a human shield against stone-throwers by soldiers in Kashmir.

India waging all-out war against Kashmir students: FO

The 11-second clip went viral and has sparked outrage and heated debate about the role of the military.

Rights activists say Indian forces in Kashmir have been using human shields since the late 1980s, when an armed insurgency against Indian rule erupted across the territory.

On Wednesday student protesters took to the streets, clashing with government forces who used shotguns to disperse them.

Students have staged almost daily protests in recent weeks, chanting slogans demanding freedom from India and throwing rocks at police.

 

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Reader Comments (5)

  • F Khan
    Apr 26, 2017 - 8:47PM

    The largest democracy in the world in 2017 thinks that by blocking internet, news and social media they can stop the voice of azadi.Recommend

  • Naeem Khan
    Apr 26, 2017 - 9:55PM

    Yesterday April 25, there was a detailed report by NPR (National Public Radio USA) correspondence Julie McCarthy about the atrocities committed by Indian Security Service in Indian held Kashmir. She reported that thousands of young people are being deliberately blinded using Shot Guns by these forces which resulted in more hatred toward Indians. There was also collaboration between Kashmiri and US rapers, their song was all about the freedom to the Kashmiri people and stop these atrocities committed by Indians. The world is beginning to notice it now. I wonder how long the Indians think that they could subjugate the Kashmiris from getting their basic human rights. Yeah, they claim to be a largest democracy but in democracies the governments do not inflict atrocities on their population who does not want to live with them. A significant example of real democracy was shown by Canadians to grant freedom to the French Speaking population of Quebec Province who wanted to become independent State. However the population of Quebec Province decided to stay in the union through their referendum. India has promised in the UN to have Plebiscite in Kashmir and let the Kashmiris decide their own fate but despite being so Called Largest Democracy, India has denied the Kashmiris their basic human rights, so much for their farce democracy. Look around in India now and how they are incarcerating people for life for slaughtering cows. Pathetic people and their pathetic leadership, they are being exposed now all over the world. Recommend

  • vivek
    Apr 26, 2017 - 11:22PM

    @F Khan:
    But in Ashura celebration you close down Mobile network for the entire countryRecommend

  • Sajid Ansari
    Apr 27, 2017 - 1:13AM

    And yet the Indians claim the biggest democracy of the world.
    Is it the democracy..? Shame on you.Recommend

  • Nadeem
    Apr 27, 2017 - 7:29AM

    I wonder why we have stopped calling it “Held Kashmir” and gave it the name IOK?Recommend

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