Remember, the animated outrage by many on the suspension of mobile internet in the trouble-torn Kashmir valley. They argue that such a move is “bad for democracy.” Further, they mock at the Digital India for the suspension of internet services in the valley.
Government has blocked the mobile web access in response to the violent protests in the Kashmir valley. The move was triggered by worries that dangerous rumours could spread with people posting inflammatory messages, which would incite violence and could exacerbate an already volatile situation.
It has been come to the light that as many as 300 WhatsApp groups were being used to mobilise stone-pelter mobs against security forces in Kashmir. And each of these WhatsApp goups had around 250 members.
“We identified the groups and the group administrators, who were called in by police for counselling. We have had a good response to this initiative,” a police official was quoted as saying in while explaining how “determined attempts” were being made to disrupt the operations of the security forces by mobilising stone-pelters.
More than 90 per cent of these WhatsApp groups have been shut down in the past three weeks, the official said adding that the government’s policy of suspending internet services appeared to be showing positive results in curbing stone-pelting.
“With no internet services, the mobilisation of mobs has almost become impossible. Earlier, we would see youth from as far as 10 kilometres from the encounter sites joining the protesters to pelt stones at security forces to disrupt the anti-terror operations. But that could not happen in the absence of internet on mobiles,” the official was quoted as saying.
“With the internet facility withdrawn, the activity on these social networking groups and other micro blogging sites like Facebook has come down drastically,” he added.
Stone-pelting on security forces near the encounter sites in Kashmir has been causing major operational problems for the law enforcing agencies over the past one year.
Ever since the recent bypoll to Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, a fresh spurt violence broke out in the valley. There is a palpable tension in the valley with the separatist forces call for a 2016-like protests.
Amid all these a video in which a youth was allegedly tied to an Army jeep as a human shield against stone pelters has recently gone viral on social media.
In the wake of renewed protests in the state, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 24 April. The PDP and the BJP, which are running the coalition government in the troubled state, are not on the same page as far as the issue of dealing with the stone pelters are concerned.
Seventy-six people and two police personnel were killed during the five month-long unrest in the Kashmir valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by security forces in an encounter on 8 July, 2016.