Internet Slows Down In Jammu & Kashmir As Social Network Sites Face Partial Censorship

Internet Slows Down In Jammu & Kashmir As Social Network Sites Face Partial Censorship

2 October 2012
The Economic Times
Masood Hussain

Srinagar: In a bid to prevent trouble, the government ensured the internet speeds go down in Kashmir. While the social networking sites have been rolled back to the cell phone users, even those using computers are facing crippling issues owing to slowing speed. 'We follow the directions of the government and that has sought blocking the social networking sites,' a middle run official of the Airtel, not authorized to speak said. 'We are just implementing the directions.' State's home department issued an order on September 22 asking cell phone and internet services providers to block downloading and uploading of an anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims. If necessary, the government order said, the service providers should block websites YouTube and Facebook. A day ahead of the order when Kashmiri separatist sponsored a strike against the blasphemous video, cell phones and the internet was switched off for most of the day. Once restored, the formal implementation of the order started. Some cell phone users are claiming their GPRS services have been arbitrarily withdrawn. BSNL, the major player in the broadband has withheld 3G services and is currently offering only 2G. Off the road, BSNL officials are saying since they are facing technical issues in blocking certain sites which offer the blasphemous video, they have slowed down the internet speed that prevents any downloading or uploading of the film. This has added to the overall crisis of the users who feel crippled. 'How can anybody think that Muslims are keen to watch this blasphemous video,' said Muzamil Ahmad, a devout Muslim and chronic internet user. 'It is like saying we hate Salman Rushdie but want to read his novel.' The ban, he alleged, is a gag and that motive is something different. Since the order came within days after President Pranab Mukhrejee asked Kashmir youth to be part of India's growth story especially in the IT, it has become a favourite topic with the youth within and outside the academic campuses.