Police Asks Telecom Companies To Shut Internet Services

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SRINAGAR: Barely a week after the government restored internet services in Kashmir following some eight deaths in the bypoll violence, the Jammu and Kashmir police Monday ordered the telecom companied to shut their 3G and 4G services in the Kashmir Valley as the authorities feel there has been an attempt to spread fear through online videos.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police has directed the telecom companies to shut their 3G and 4G services in the Valley, official sources said. The decision was taken after several videos surfaced in recent days, some showing local politicians being threatened in various parts of the Valley and others which showed alleged atrocities by Army, police, CRPF or other para-military forces deputed for Parliamentary bye-elections.

When asked why the authorities decided to clampdown on internet again, the Director General of Police, Dr Shesh Paul Vaid, told Kashmir Observer that they were left with no option. “People are creating havoc by uploading nasty stuff on internet,” Dr Vaid said. “We can’t allow people to run amok on social networking sites.”

Officials said that it appears that such videos were being circulated with an aim to create fear among people or show the security personnel in poor light. Controversy peaked when a video showing a man tied to an army jeep in Budgam district of central Kashmir on April 9 surfaced when polling was underway for the Srinagar Parliamentary bypoll.

A case has been registered against unknown army personnel for the alleged act which received wide criticism. There were videos showing traders and political leaders in Pulwama of South Kashmir being threatened by militants at gun point.

“Such videos are only aimed at creating scare in general public,” a senior police official said. Internet services had been barred in the Valley keeping in view the sensitive Srinagar bypoll and were restored on April 13.

When told the authorities could block the social networking sites rather than snapping the entire internet which impacted trade, education and other faculties, Dr Vaid said he would seek the inputs from other officers to find out whether such a possibility can be explored. “We don’t want to put the entire population to any inconvenience,” Dr Vaid added.

However, the Inspector General of Police, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani, declined to comment on the issue and preferred to hang up.

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