There are reports that the Indian government has blocked Facebook and YouTube in Kashmir. The story was first reported by GreaterKashmir which said that, ISP companies blocked social networking sites including Facebook and YouTube in Kashmir without any official directive the state government.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, GPRS has also been blocked in the state.
IBN-Live reports that the order was issued by the state Home Department, invoking the powers conferred under section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885.
According to the IBN-Live report, the order was issue with regard to public safety and also emphasised that if necessary entire domains could also be blocked by service providers.
“If necessary, due to technical reasons, the Fully Qualified Domain Names shall be blocked viz www.youtube.com, www.facebook.com etc” the order reads.
According to GreaterKashmir, which spoke to the General Manager of Reliance (J&K) Ataullah Haque who said that every company has jammed Facebook and YouTube but the rest of the services were functioning. “Basically government has issued a directive to block the Facebook but other services are functioning,” the report quoted him as saying.
The blocking comes after PTI had reported yesterday that the Union Government asked private telecom operators in Jammu and Kashmir to provide at the earliest, a mechanism for fool-proof monitoring of Internet traffic to the state especially that provided on the smartphones.
The government says the monitoring of Internet in Kashmir is a must to ensure that anti-India propaganda is not spread in the already volatile region. Kashmir also saw violent protests after the Anti-Islam film which resulted in some URL’s being blocked.
In the past, Facebook and YouTube have been used by Kashmiris to highlight police abuse. For instance in 2012, the government blocked a video showing Kashmiri men being stripped and humiliated by the police after it went viral across India.