The government has banned 22 social networking sites in the Kashmir valley for one month from today and asked the Internet Service Providers to stop transmission of these 22 sites in the valley.
The Home department headed by the chief minister Mahbooba Mufti has ordered the ban today and said that the “elements inimical to peace are misusing the social networking sites to disturb peace and incite people against the state administration and security forces”.
The order dated 26 April with NO. HOME/ISA/476 of 2017, declares that under Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, all ISPs are asked that any message or class of messages or any pictorial content through these 22 sites shall not be transmitted in Kashmir with immediate effect for a period of one month or till further orders.
The sites among others include Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Telegram, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Skype, YouTube (upload) and others.
The order, however, does not mention banning internet, mobile or broadband services in the region.
Official sources said that broadband internet services will continue working. Also, the order does not mention whether 2G service will be continued as it was permitted during the ban on 3G and 4G service.
3G and 4G mobile internet service has been suspended in the valley earlier this month when widespread students’ protests rocked valley after the Pulwama government college assault by forces in which 54 students were injured.
On April 9, the internet was suspended when by-polls were held for Srinagar parliament seat, and on April 13 when re-polls were held in 38 polling stations where no voting could be held due to protests and killings of 8 civilians in Budgam and Ganderbal districts.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.