22 Social Media sites banned in Kashmir for a month

The state government today ordered one-month ban on 22 social media sites, mobile phone messengers and video-uploading sites in the Valley, which the security agencies believe are fuelling the protests.
The state Home Department in an order banned Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, QQ, WeChat, Qzone, Tumblr, Google+, Baidu, Skype, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Pinterest, Telegram, Reddit, Snapfish, Youtube, Vine, Xanga, Buzznet and Flickr.
“The violation of the order shall be dealt with in accordance with the relevant provisions of law,” the government warned in the order, signed by RK Goyal, Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department.
It is for the first time that the state government has banned social media in the Kashmir valley even as blanket shutdown of the Internet has remained a frequent feature in the region. The ban has been ordered in the backdrop of a series of protests in the region, mostly lead by youth, particularly students, in their teens and early twenties.
Security officials believe that the protests, which are becoming difficult to control, are partly fuelled by social media.
In the recent months, demonstrators had live-streamed protests which further fuelled the anger of public following which government had suspended Internet services twice this month, including during the run-up to parliamentary bypoll on April 9.
The state government said “over a period of time, a progressively increasing trend had been witnessed in regard to inimical misuse of social media … by elements inimical to public order and tranquillity”.
“It has further been observed that such elements are transmitting objectionable contents to spread disaffection among public at large in the Kashmir valley against the state administration and security forces,” the order read. It also cites the 2016 unrest and said social media was “extensively misused” during the disturbances.
The ban has come at a time when the state government is grappling with recurring bouts of protests which appear to be spreading in scale and intensity.
The state government had last week shut down the high-speed Internet services in the Kashmir valley following protests by students across all colleges and universities of the region.
The protests by students have continued in colleges despite government closing down higher education institutions for almost a week.
The fresh protests by students were held in colleges and higher secondary schools in Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Bijbehara and Ganderbal districts, where students attempted to take out a march but were intercepted by the police leading to clashes at several places.
26 hurt as students, forces clash again
Twentysix people were injured during the clashes between students and security forces in Kashmir on Wednesday. Students of higher secondary schools and colleges protested in Srinagar, Pulwama, Pampore, Shopian, Kulgam, Ganderbal and Bandipora against the alleged high-handedness of the security forces during the Pulwama incident on April 15, a police officer said. In Srinagar, the protests were held in the Shalimar and Soura areas. The officer said 26 people were hurt in the clashes. — PTI
Internet ban will affect economy: Farooq
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said the communication blockade ordered by the PDP-BJP government would “play havoc with the state’s economy and in turn render thousands of youth unemployed”. “This will in turn lead to an increase in unemployment as the private sector, especially the tourism sector, will be severely hit,” he said.

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