J&K police lodges FIR against Kashmir people accessing Internet via VPN

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 18, 2020

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People in Jammu and Kashmir will be charged for accessing the Internet using Virtual Private Network. The police in Kashmir are reportedly using the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against those who are accessing social media sites including Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, that are not listed in the 301 white-listed sites, as per the report by the Wire.

Earlier in January, Centre lifted the ban on 2G services after five months of a blanket ban on internet services post Article 370 abrogation. After the ban was lifted, people in Kashmir resorted to VPN or proxy servers to access social media websites. This is the first time police have filed an FIR against people using social media through proxy servers.

The ban on 3G and 4G services has been further extended till February 24. Only 2G services are available at the moment.

According to an Indian Express report, Jammu-Kashmir police filed the FIR after a video that was doing rounds on various social media platforms of ailing Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani.

J&K police stated that they have taken serious note of the misuse of social media. The Cyber Police Station of Kashmir Zone in Srinagar has lodged an FIR against various social media users who defied the government orders of not indulging on any social media platform.

The Indian Express added that the FIR has been registered under Sections 13 of UAPA, 188 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code and 66-A (b) of IT Act.

The state police believe that social media sites are used by people in Kashmir to propagate radical ideologies and promote unlawful activities. However, 66-A of IT act that defines the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device, was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2015 to uphold the freedom of expression in India.

Published on February 18, 2020

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