Kashmir Youth Hail Scrapping Of Sec 66A Of IT Act

24 March 2015
Kashmir Dispatch
Neyaz Ellahi

Srinagar: Youth in Kashmir Tuesday hailed the landmark verdict of Supreme Court of India to struck down the 66A of Inofrmation Technology Act that had empowered police to arrest any person for posting an 'objectionable' text or liking any 'objectionable' post on social networking sites like twitter, facebook, whatsapp or other similar sites. 'It is of course a land mark decision and we have a reason to smile. This Act had been giving sleepless nights to youth and was stopping everyone to express himself freely. Number of youth were detained in Kashmir just because they dare to speak the truth and posted messages on social networking sites that were offensive for police and the government,' a law graduate from Kashmir University said. In the wake of numerous complaints of harassment and arrests all across India and particularly in Kashmir Valley due to the presence of 66A, the Supreme Court said public's right to know is directly affected by Section 66A of Information Technology Act. The apex court also said Section 66A of IT Act clearly affects Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression enshrined under Indian Constitution. The social networking users while terming the decision of Supreme Court as pro-people and pro-democratic said that in this progressive and modernized world, the right to freedom of speech can't be curtailed. 'One of the women was booked in Palgahr simply for pressing 'Like' button on an anti-Baltackray post on facebook. In Kashmir Valley as well, youth were called to police stations who had commented on the facebook status of girls 'musical band'. There are other numerous examples, when police called youth to police stations and detained them in Kashmir for expressing themselves on social networking sites. Such incidents had set a bad precedent where clicking a 'like' exposed a user to criminal consequences. Today it was a 'like' button and tomorrow anything could have been brought within the ambit of Information Technology Act. We are really happy that this dreaded act died at last,' said a group of students. Reacting over the scrapping of draconian 66A, a lawyer said that this act was used by previous government for their own political agenda. 'A law has to be for the people and and to stop its misuse should be the top priority of a corruption free government,' he said. The frequent arrests of youth in past for posting content online has led to the genuine belief that Kashmir is no longer home to free speech , even the trivial sort. 'It is in fact a landmark decision but to what extent it can give relief to the youth in Kashmir is a million dollar question,' said a journalist.