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J&K: Security forces, students clash in Ganderbal district, Indian authorities block social media

Violence has broken out in J&K's Ganderbal district Photograph: (Agencies)

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 26, 2017, 12.09 PM (IST)

Indian security forces have once again clashed with students in Ganderbal district in Jammu & Kashmir. The Kashmir valley has seen several incidents of stone-pelting between students and security forces in the past two months.

Authorities have meanwhile ordered internet service providers to block popular social media services including Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp after an upsurge in violence in the region.

The sites and applications which will be inaccessible in the valley include Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Wechat, QQ, Qzone, Google Plus, Skype, Line, Pinterest, Snapchat, Youtube, Vine and Flickr.

In a statement, the local government said the services were "being misused by anti-national and anti-social elements" and should be blocked for one month or until further notice "in the interest of maintenance of public order".

The move comes against the backdrop of repeated student protests in Kashmir, which the authorities believe are fanned through social media. Some days back, a police official had said that 350 WhatsApp groups were being used to spread rumours in Kashmir and the government had cracked down, shutting 90 per cent of these groups.

The mobile internet services were suspended in Kashmir on April 17, following widespread student protests in the valley against alleged highhandedness of security forces. 

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said that those who disrupted operations during encounters will be treated as "overground workers of terrorists".

People creating hurdles during anti-terror operations and displaying flags of Pakistan and ISIS in Jammu and Kashmir will be dealt as anti-nationals and will face "harsh" actions, the Army Chief had said.

On March 28, three protesters were killed and seventeen injured during a clash with security forces in Kashmir's Budgam region. The protesters had begun to pelt stones at the security forces during an encounter with militants in the Chadoora area of Kashmir's Budgam district.

PM Modi had recently appealed to chief ministers of various states to help integrate young men and woman from Kashmir into the mainstream after incidents of violence were reported against them in a few colleges. PM Modi suggested that states could organise events in Jammu and Kashmir for young people in the state.

Also Read: Stone-pelters hold Centre to ransom, get funding from Pakistan's ISI, says minister of state Jitendra Singh 

(WION with agency inputs)

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