New Delhi: Internet users in Kashmir are unable to access Facebook and YouTube. The government had issued orders to Internet service providers to restrict access to the websites. This move is believed to be in response to the protests against the anti-Islam video on YouTube.
It was previously reported that the certain URLs with offensive content had been blocked, but it now seems that access to the entire websites have been restricted. Last month the Government of Jammu & Kashmir had directed service providers to ensure that the controversial YouTube video was not accessible from the state.
The order was issued 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 order also emphasised that if necessary entire domains could also be blocked by service providers. "If necessary, due to technical reasons, the Fully Qualified Domain Names shall be blocked viz www.youtube.com, www.facebook.com etc," the order read.
Greater Kashmir quoted executives from telecom service providers in the state who confirmed that there was indeed a block in place, but when Greater Kashmir contacted Aga Ruhullah, Jammu & Kashmir's minister for information technology, he claimed ignorance. "There is not any ban on these websites. I don't have proper information of it. I can't confirm whether there is any technical snag in it," Ruhullah said.
Meanwhile, the Government of India has asked private telecom operators in Jammu and Kashmir to provide at the earliest a mechanism for fool-proof monitoring of real-time Internet traffic in the state.