J&K: Social media banned ahead of Burhan Wani death anniversary
A security person stands guard in Srinagar on Thursday. Photograph: (PTI)
The Jammu and Kashmir Police has directed internet service providers to block all social media sites in the Valley from 10 pm Thursday till further orders in view of the first death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani on July 8.
Posters of the Hizbul terrorist have been pasted across villages in south Kashmir ahead of his anniversary, media reports said.
Some of the posters ask people to participate in pro-Independence rallies called by separatists across the state.
Separatist leaders in the state have been put under house arrest, the reports added.
Security has been stepped up in the Valley, especially in south Kashmir districts, PTI reported. More than 21,000 additional central paramilitary forces have been deployed across the state ahead of Burhan Wani's death anniversary and the Amarnath pilgrimage.
An order issued by Kashmir Inspector General of police Munir Ahmad Khan said the steps must be taken in view of the "apprehensions of misuse of Internet services by anti-national elements."
"In view of the apprehensions of misuse of Internet services by anti-national elements, which is likely to cause deterioration in law and order situation, you are directed to block all social media sites," the order issued to Internet service providers in the Valley read.
The order added that if blocking of social media sites was not possible, service providers should shut down their services in Kashmir from 10 pm today (Thursday) till further orders.
Mobile internet services across the Valley are also likely to be suspended as a precautionary measure.
Burhan Wani's killing in an encounter with security forces on July 8 last year triggered a wave of protests, prolonged periods of curfews and shutdowns across the valley. Around 100 civilians were killed and thousands others injured in daily clashes between forces and protestors for a period of over four months.
Four districts of the state - Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag - have been on the boil since the killing of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant in an encounter with security forces on July 8 last year.
Over 80 young men from these areas had taken to arms since the encounter, official sources from the state had said earlier.
Civilians have played an increasingly active role in the uprising against the state after Burhan Wani's killing which sparked a huge outpouring of grief in Kashmir.
Many more were blinded by the pellet guns used by government forces in the region, exacerbating the divide between security personnel and the civilian population.
Villagers began intervening in anti-militant raids, throwing stones at government forces to create a distraction and give the militants a chance to flee.
India has deployed two additional army battalions -- about 2,000 troops -- to troubled regions in the southern Kashmir area.
But some officials say the challenge now is to deal with public anger rather than the militant threat.
"The armed militants are not much of a challenge," one senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"Counterinsurgency operations have been intensified and we are eliminating them. But in absence of any political forces engaging the people, they (rebels) have galvanised the public sentiment against India."