The Internet-service providers have blocked social networking websites such as YouTube and Facebook in Kashmir. The companies have reportedly blocked GPRS facilities on the mobile phones as well. According to reports, the government had imposed a ban last week in a bid to prevent any untoward incident during the possible protests in the state against the recent anti-Islam video on YouTube.
According to an IBN Live report, the Jammu & Kashmir had ordered the service providers to make sure that the controversial hate video on YouTube was not accessible from the state. The order was released by the state Home Department, invoking the powers conferred under section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885.
"In the interest of public safety and for maintaining public order, the government directed all licensed Telecom Service Providers and Internet Service Providers to make arrangements to ensure that their subscribers in Jammu and Kashmir should not be able to download or upload the contents" with regard to the video, the order said.
The service providers have confirmed the government ban on the social networking websites. Kashmir Watch in its report cites reply of a customer care executive of Airtel: “You will not be able to access Facebook and YouTube because the sites have been banned in Jammu and Kashmir. The services will be restore only after the ban is lifted, but we cannot be sure when that happens.”
“It is due to the ban imposed on Facebook and YouTube…We are sorry, but the sites are barred till further orders,” a Tata Docomo customer care executive is quoted as saying.
The move to ban social networking is receiving severe crticism as the general public was not made aware about it in advance. Also, people have expressed unhappiness over not being able to access e-mail and BlackBerry services. “Never has it happened in the past. We are facing huge problems in the communication due to the slow functioning of the service. We had also enquired from the officials of the BSNL but they are not taking our word seriously,” says a delegation of businessmen.
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