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Twenty-two social networking sites are now inaccessible in the valley

Picture Courtesy: TOI

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir government banned 22 social networking sites and applications including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter in Kashmir on Wednesday due to their misuse by anti-national and anti-social elements.

“The ban will be in place for a month or till further orders, whichever is earlier,” said an order issued by Principal Secretary R K Goyal.

“In the interest of maintenance of public order, the government hereby directs all internet service providers that any message or class of messages to or from a person or a class of persons relating to any subject or any pictorial content through the following social networking sites shall not be transmitted in Kashmir valley with immediate effect for a period of one month or till further orders, whichever is earlier,” he mentioned in the three-page order.

The sites and applications which will be inaccessible in Kashmir include Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Wechat, QQ, Qzone, Google Plus, Skype, Line, Pinterest, Snapchat, Youtube, Vine and Flickr. However, the reports of suspension of Internet a month ago were not correct.

To the ban the social networking sites and Apps, Goyal invoked the powers conferred on Government under Indian Telegraph Act 1885 read with Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules 2007 to ban these sites and applications.

The order also reads, “the anti-national and inimical elements largely succeed in transmitting unverified, objectionable and inflammatory material and content through the medium of these social networking sites.”
It was being “felt that continued misuse of social networking sites and instant messaging services is likely to be detrimental to the interests of peace and tranquillity in the state.”

The authorities believe the protests by students come into existence with the use of social media. Recently, a police official had said that 350 WhatsApp groups were being used to spread rumours in Kashmir and the government had cracked down, shutting 90 per cent of these groups.