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4G and 3G services suspended in Kashmir, Facebook and WhatsApp likely to be banned

The home ministry has told security forces to not use pellet guns, but plastic bullets instead Photograph: (WION)

WION Delhi, India Apr 18, 2017, 12.31 AM (IST)

All universities, colleges and higher secondary schools in Kashmir will remain closed today as a precautionary measure after clashes broke out between students and security forces on Monday.

4G and 3G services were suspended in the valley on Monday and now the Jammu and Kashmir government is likely to also ban Facebook and WhatsApp in the days to come, Firstpost reported.

The report said it is purportedly being done to stop videos showing atrocities by security personnel from being circulated. 

This is the third time the state's government has restricted internet services in the last two weeks. 

Police fired tear gas on Monday to disperse students in the capital Srinagar, the latest outbreak of protests since demonstrations last week after a botched byelection in which at least eight people were killed, Reuters reported.

Some colleges were forced to close.

Students had clashed with security forces, protesting against an alleged raid by security personnel on the degree college in Pulwama on Saturday.

Greater Kashmir reported that more than 70 students were injured in the scuffle that broke out across different colleges and university campuses in Kashmir.

In Saturday's incident, at least fifty-four students, including girls, were injured during clashes outside Degree College Pulwama, Greater Kashmir reported.

The incident has worsened the already tense situation prevailing in Kashmir after a video of a man strapped in front of an Army jeep had surfaced provoking strong reactions from people. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah had shared the video on his Twitter account.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police filed a case against the local Indian Army unit for tying up a man in front of a jeep allegedly to ward off stone pelters. 

Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the video's authenticity was being ascertained, adding, "Action will be taken against those found guilty of misconduct."

Militants have stepped up attacks in Kashmir including raids on the homes of police officers ever since the incident, Reuters reported.

The state's police chief on Sunday told officers to avoid visiting their own homes in South Kashmir, after militants stormed the houses of at least four officers.

Militants also shot dead a lawyer affiliated with an opposition party and a former counter-insurgency commander, police said. A worker of the ruling party was killed late on Saturday.

Over the weekend two more videos circulated on social media showing workers of the ruling political party in Jammu and Kashmir renouncing mainstream politics, one of them beside a man wielding a gun.

Earlier, another video had surfaced showing protesters kicking and heckling a CRPF soldier who was on election duty. The Police filed a case on a complaint by the CRPF.

The situation in Kashmir took a turn for the worse on April 9 when the bypoll for the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency were scheduled. Eight people were killed as protesters sought to disrupt the election process.

The Election Commission had ordered a repoll in 38 polling stations. The overall polling percentage for the bypoll stood at a dismal 7.13 per cent, the worst Kashmir has seen after militancy erupted in the late 1980s.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah won the by-poll defeating PDP's Nazir Khan. PDP, along with alliance partner BJP, is ruling the state.


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