World, Asia - Pacific

India pursues Twitter users over Kashmir posts

Kashmir journalist tells of government's attempt to close 'little window of social media' on conflict

06.09.2017 - Update : 07.09.2017
India pursues Twitter users over Kashmir posts

By Zahid Rafiq

SRINAGAR, Jammu Kashmir

India is increasingly clamping down on social media to silence dissent in Kashmir, a recently targeted journalist said Wednesday.

Wasim Khalid, who writes for the Kashmir Reader newspaper, is one of the several Kashmiri Twitter users asked to remove posts following an official complaint from the Indian government.

“At first I thought it was a joke, one of those fake emails you keep getting but then I looked more carefully and it was actually an email from Twitter,” he told Anadolu Agency.

He added: “It is an attempt at intimidating those who post the truth that will never be shown by Indian media.

“It is meant to close this little window of social media where Kashmir appeared to the world as it exists on ground. The doesn’t want the world to see how it keeps its hold on Kashmir and that is why they want Kashmiris blocked from social media.”

Twitter has reportedly blocked several Kashmiri accounts and suppressed dozens of tweets after complaints from the government.

According to The Indian Express newspaper, the government asked Twitter to block 19 accounts in a letter dated Aug. 24, most of them over tweets about Kashmir. It also asked for 95 tweets to be removed.

On Aug, 31, Khalid received an email from Twitter informing him the government had complained that two of his posts violated Indian law.

One post related to an essay recently republished by a Kashmiri news site and the other carried an image of a young boy being used as a human shield by Indian forces in Kashmir.

The Muslim-majority region is divided between India and Pakistan, who have fought two wars over the territory since 1947.

Resistance groups in Indian-controlled Jammu Kashmir have been fighting for independence or unification with Pakistan. Since 1989, more than 70,000 people have been reportedly killed in the conflict.

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