Classifieds 50% off, use promo code FBkpkPromo The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

A social media battleground

INDIA: An unprecedented ban on Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter in Indian Kashmir has highlighted social media’s role in energising an insurgency that has roiled the disputed Himalayan region for decades.


Saturday 6 May 2017, 11:18AM

A Kashmiri man is seen here browsing the internet on his mobile phone on a footbridge in Srinagar. Photo: AFP
A Kashmiri man is seen here browsing the internet on his mobile phone on a footbridge in Srinagar. Photo: AFP

Authorities in the Kashmir valley last week ordered internet service providers to block 15 social media services for at least one month, saying they were being misused by “anti-national and anti-social elements”.

The move followed an upsurge in violence in the region, where authorities say social media are being used to mobilise stone-throwing protesters behind increasingly frequent civilian attacks on government forces.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir valley, one of the world’s most heavily militarised spots, where most people favour independence or a merger with Pakistan.

One senior police officer said the power of social media to mobilise large groups of civilians was “worrying the security forces much more than the armed militants”.

“Social media is misused to mobilise youth during anti-militant operations,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces in Indian Kashmir for decades.

But the violent civilian protests, which often mobilise around the anti-militant operations conducted by government forces, are a relatively new phenomenon.

The local government already frequently blocks mobile internet services in the volatile Kashmir valley, but it is the first time they have banned specific social media services in the interests of public order.

The Kashmir valley has been tense since April 9, when eight people were killed by police and paramilitaries during election day violence.

Since then, students angered by a police attempt to detain suspected protest ringleaders on college grounds have held regular demonstrations, frequently clashing with police.

Kashmir’s tech-savvy young – 70% of the population is under 35 – have increasingly turned to social media to express their anger as well as to mobilise demonstrations.

“If they (the government) take away our means of communication and protest we will keep finding new ones,” said Asim, a university student who gave only his first name.

Political scientist Noor Ahmed Baba said that the conflict was now “playing out in the social media space”.

“The present government wants to silence the people. The violence of suppression will generate more violence,” said Baba, a political scientist with the University of Kashmir.

Young Kashmiris have also used their mobile phones to record videos of killings and other rights abuses by government forces and upload them on Youtube.

C and C Marine

One video circulated online this month depicted a Kashmiri man tied to the front of an army jeep, apparently as a human shield against stone-throwing protesters.

Indian police took the rare step of registering a criminal case after the footage went viral, sparking outrage in India.

But no arrests have yet been made and India’s Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi even appeared to support the use of a human shield, saying “if it has to be done again, it should be done again”.

Another video showed an Indian paramilitary soldier being heckled and slapped by protesters outside a polling station.

But security expert Ajai Shukla said banning social media was “unlikely to control or diffuse the situation”.

“It is at best a temporary solution, but also means shooting the messenger,” he said.

“It indicates poor security management. Politically it is a double disadvantage and from a strategic and technical (military) operations point of view it achieves nothing.”

Kashmir’s armed insurgency has significantly weakened since its peak in the 1990s.

But dozens of Kashmiri youths have joined its ranks since last July, when security forces killed the popular young leader Burhan Wani.

The death of the charismatic rebel – himself a social media sensation who regularly uploaded video messages – also sparked a wave of popular protest.

More than 100 people died and thousands more were injured in clashes between protesters and government forces last year, the worst violence to hit the Himalayan region since 2010.

One student activist said the ban on social media would remove one of the few remaining outlets for peaceful protest in Kashmir.

“Social media is our media, everyone’s media. We’re in it to show the world what is done to us generation after generation,” said the activist, who asked not to be named.

“Indian politicians and media misrepresent us. This has to end. How else do we protest without being called terrorists?”



The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments

Phuket drunk rescued after falling in ditch while taking a pee

Probably back driving buses over Patong Hill!...(Read More)

Phuket under pressure as tourism growth exposes flaws in hotel sector

Rorri_2 ... none of your business. When you figure out what neo colonialist means and that can be located within context, get back to me....(Read More)

German Papke reveals details of Phuket murder's because it is murder ie when you kill someone unlawfully and with premeditation. It's more of a definition that is easily un...(Read More)

Phuket power chiefs told to speed up cable tangle clean-up

There is only one real and fast solution,cut them all and make new ones for those who complain! SIMPLE!!There will be only a few! Horst...(Read More)

German Papke reveals details of Phuket murder

Why is the polis always say murder when it comes to foreigner's?Just Killing would be enough!Could be manslaughter,Let the judge decide ! Horst...(Read More)

Phuket’s dangerous driving habits sees underpass traffic-flow barrier installed

No wonder As long there egoistic reckless traffic rules ignoring motorists on the road There will be chaos and traffic jams. ...(Read More)

German Papke reveals details of Phuket murder

Can't imagine how somebody could live a normal live day to day knowing what you'd done weeks, months, years before...(Read More)

Phuket under pressure as tourism growth exposes flaws in hotel sector

Jor12, you wouldn't, by chance, run hotels rooms. By the way, you continually use the term "neo colonialist" incorrectly. ...(Read More)

Phuket’s dangerous driving habits sees underpass traffic-flow barrier installed

Because getting the police out to fine dangerous drivers is too difficult...(Read More)

Aussie lifeguards ramp up Phuket lifesaving skills, awareness

Well done that guy, they should put him in charge of many posts, he realises that getting help from other countries is the way forward!...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
Weird World
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.