Kashmir internet ban

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Abid Bhat

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Authorities say they shut web and telecommunications providers to cease rumours throughout instances of unrest

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has stated India must stop “arbitrary restrictions” on web and telephone providers.

The organisation stated state governments had imposed 20 non permanent web shutdowns in 2017.

Authorities say they shut web and telecommunications providers to cease rumours throughout instances of unrest.

However the rights group stated arbitrary web shutdowns “violated India’s obligations beneath worldwide human rights regulation”.

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Indian authorities regularly shut telecommunication providers in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Earlier this month, the federal government within the western state of Maharashtra shut down web providers after protests led by farmers turned violent.

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, stated the authorities’ concern about misuse of social media “shouldn’t be the default possibility to stop social unrest”.

“The dearth of transparency and failure to clarify these shutdowns solely additional the notion that they’re meant to suppress nonviolent reporting and criticism of the federal government,” she added.

The organisation, nonetheless, stated that social media in India “has at instances fuelled rumours resulting in violence”.

But it surely suggested the federal government to not absolutely shut providers throughout protests.

“As an alternative of absolutely shutting down networks, authorities can use social media to discourage violence and restore public order,” it stated.