Need internet curbs: J&K Administration tells SC

It told the top court that to protect the life and safety of people, prohibitory orders were passed as few persons tried to incite people through "inflammatory speeches". Photo/PTI

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday justified the imposition of internet curbs in the erstwhile state post abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and said attempts were made on social media to instigate people for 'Jihad' by separatists, terrorists and Pakistan's Army.

It told the top court that to protect the life and safety of people, prohibitory orders were passed as few persons tried to incite people through "inflammatory speeches".

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Jammu and Kashmir administration, that it was not only fighting enemies within but also with those from across the border.

Mehta referred to public speeches and social media posts of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and leaders of National Conference party against the removal of Article 35A, which gave special rights to permanent residents of the state, and Article 370 that granted special status to the state.

"There were several other messages on social media from mainstream political parties and separatists which justified putting restrictions on the internet," he said, adding that social media is "uncontrolled" and one can convey views using hashtags on twitter handles.

Referring to social media app Twitter, Mehta said that "there were thousands of messages on official twitter handles of Pakistan Army, Afghan Taliban and other terror groups meant to instigate the people of Jammu and Kashmir. There was propaganda by the Pakistan Army. We would have failed in our duty if we had not taken precautionary steps".

The Solicitor General was replying to the petitions filed by Anuradha Bhasin, editor of 'Kashmir Times' newspaper, and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad who have challenged the restrictions imposed in the erstwhile state post abrogation of provisions of Article 370 on August 5.

He said it is an "exceptional situation" which required exceptional measures as the psychological cyberwar was propagated by vested interests.

"Terrorism uses the internet medium as its most effective tool. Modern terrorism relies heavily on the internet as it has a global impact. The operation is more clandestine. Internet is used on a daily basis to recruit, raise funds and propagating the ideology," he said, adding that as of today restrictions on it have been lifted from Jammu and Ladakh regions.

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