Published: Thu, April 27, 2017
Science | By Carlton Santiago

K govt orders internet services suspended for a month

The government has said that the continued misuse of social networking sites and instant messaging services are likely to be detrimental to the interests of peace and tranquility in the state.

According to an order issued by J&K Principal Secretary (Home) R K Goya, the suspension will be in place for a month or till further orders, whichever is earlier.

The authorities believe that such protests and violence are fanned through social media.

With students' protests and unrest showing no signs of letting up for second consecutive week in the Valley, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday chose to suspend 22 social networking websites and applications, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsAap, in Kashmir.

Interestingly, Wednesday's executive order did not mention whether the suspension order would be applicable to only mobile Internet services or also include fixed line broadband connections that are still working in the Valley.

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The government, while invoking powers conferred on it under the Indian Telegraph Act and Information Technology Act, has warned that any violation of the order shall be dealt with in accordance with the relevant provisions of law.

It is for the first time that the government has taken such a step though it regularly blocks the mobile internet signals in the restive Kashmir valley.

Protesting against alleged "high-handedness of security forces against the student community", fresh clashes led to closure of schools and colleges in Pulwama, Bandipora, Chadoora, Ganderbal and Shopian.

"It has been further observed that such elements are transmitting objectionable content, to spread disaffection amongst public at large in the Kashmir Valley 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 and tranquility".

While during last year's crisis internet services had been suspended, this time the government has targeted social media sites and applications. "Using such measures to suppress dissent is a futile exercise", said Farooq Abdullah, NC president.

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