The government of Indian-administered Kashmir has ordered a month-long ban of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp among other apps on Thursday, April 27, 2017.
Internet service providers have been asked to block 22 social networking sites with immediate effect “in the interest of maintaining public order,” an order from the Jammu and Kashmir government said.
“The government hereby directs all internet service providers that any message … through the following social networking sites shall not be transmitted in Kashmir Valley with immediate effect for a period of one month or till further orders, whichever is earlier,” the order read.
Apart from Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, other sites and apps which will be inaccessible include Wechat; QQ; Qzone; Google Plus; Skype; Line; Pinterest; Snapchat; YouTube; Vine and Flickr.
Any violation would result in legal action, said the order from the state government’s Home Department.
The ban is coming after the Indian government said social media services were “being misused by antinational and antisocial elements”.
Authorities claim social media sites are being used to to rally support against the Indian rule in Kashmir.
An increasing trend had been noticed of social media and instant messaging sites being misused to transmit “unverified objectionable and inflammatory material and content” that was inciting violence, the order said.
Several graphic videos showing abuse by security forces and attacks on them have gone viral on social networking sites, leading to widespread clashes in the militancy-affected state.
In the latest round of such violence on April 9, eight people were killed.
Protests have spread since, with hundreds of students, including young women, pelting stones at security forces and chanting slogans against India.
This is the first time the government has taken such a step, although it regularly blocks mobile internet signals in the Kashmir Valley.