Srinagar: To curb the raging street protests and militant propaganda videos, the Jammu and Kashmir government has taken down high speed internet and social media messages for one month forthwith.
A three-page government order said this was done to prevent the misuse of the internet sites by elements "inimical'' to peace in the state.
"On careful examination of all relevant factors, it has been observed that use of social media - which is being misused by anti-national and anti-social elements by transmitting inflammatory messages in various forms, are immediately required to be regulated,'' the order said.
It said such elements are transmitting objectionable contents to spread disaffection among the people against the state and security forces with an aim to incite them to commit various offences at large scale.
Continual misuse of social networking sites and instant messaging services are likely to be detrimental to the peace and tranquility in the state, the order read.
The one-month ban applies on Facebook, whatsapp, Twitter, snapchat, QQ, we-chat, ozone, tumbir, goggle +, Baidu,Skype, Viber, line, pinterst, telegram and reddit.
It asked all private internet service providers to comply with the order.
The decision to block social media is aimed to curb the uploading of photos and videos of rights abuse by security forces in Kashmir, besides misuse by protesters and militants, the latter using it to woo youngsters into joining militancy.
A video, showing a civilian tied to the bumper of a jeep, went viral on Facebook and Twitter, causing a huge public outcry. It evoked widespread condemnation of the Army, including by former senior army commanders who operated in the state.
Similar videos were uploaded by Facebook users showing army personal torturing young protesters and thrashing them with sticks.
The videos raked up passions in Kashmir and caused huge embarrassment to forces and PDP-BJP government.
The Facebook and twitter have been increasingly used by protesters to vent their feelings and espouse the cause of separatism.
JK DGP S P Vaid had recently told News 18 that whatsapp has been misused to mobilise support for militants during encounters. A large crowd would gather in no time at encounter sites to hamper army and police operations against militants, he said.
The police has identified and arrested many users of the 30-odd whatsapp groups, with administrators based in Pakistan.
The blocking of social networking sites, however, is unlikely to end the street rage as has been seen in the past.
Last year's unrest evidently showed that protests did not die out totally when government shut off internet for several weeks.
Even these days when 3G and 4G cellular internet has been suspended, student protests have intensified. This despite government shutting off three "volatile" schools in Srinagar. But massive protests by students erupted in Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Ganderbal. In Pulwama, students hoisted a Pakistan flag on college building and in Ganderbal, they clashed with cops injuring a few of them.