WhatsApp news groups : Police to conduct background checks

SRINAGAR: With authorities in Kashmir tightening the noose on social media to control the dissemination of information, WhatsApp news groups have started submitting their mandatory registration applications.
The move comes after R Ranjan, District Magistrate of Kupwara, issued a circular on April 20 making the registration of WhatsApp news groups mandatory after protests erupted in the district, following allegations that a girl had been molested by a trooper.
According to district informatics officer Kupwara Muhammad Rouf Wani, two WhatsApp news groups – the Kashmir News Services and North News Agency – have submitted applications.
“The applications will be scrutinised. Police will conduct background verification of group administrators and in case of any exigency, it will be easy for authorities to reach them as we now have their phone numbers,” the official said.
The district informatics officer is the head of the Social Media Centre for registration of WhatsApp groups. 
Five people, including a woman, were killed in firing by the Army and the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The circular calls for every group to be registered with the District Magistrate. It says the registered groups will be monitored by the authority for any act of provocation.
The group administrators will be held accountable under the law for any provocation resulting in incidents.
Divisional commissioner Kashmir Asgar Samoon said that earlier this year, thousands of people rushed to hospitals after a WhatsApp group spread a rumour that children had died after being administered polio drops.
“It led to chaos and law and order problem across Kashmir,” he said.


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