Police Questions 10 Persons For Accessing Social Media Through VPN

Cyber Cell of JKP Probing 1000 Social Media Handles

Police Questions 10 Persons For Accessing Social Media Through VPN

Srinagar:  Five days after J&K police registered an open FIR against social media users who were accessing it through VPN or proxy servers,  10 suspects were questioned by the cyber police unit and over 1,000 social media handles are being probed, a J&K police official said.

J&K administration in its order on January 14th, after resuming 2G Internet services banned use of social media in Kashmir.  An open first information report under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act which is one of the stringent laws was filed earlier against “propagation of false information”.

“We are probing over 1,000 handles on social networking sites that have been creating chaos and confusion, spreading fake news, glorifying militancy  and secessionism. We are in a continuous process of identifying more people,” cyber police station and anti-militancy unit head Tahir Ashraf said.

Misuse of virtual private network (VPNs) also comes in the ambit of illegal activity as the government has temporarily banned use of social media in J&K, he said.

“The administration was in transition to resume communication and gradually relaxing norms. Filing FIR and ban on social media act as “deterrents to ensure peaceful and a law abiding society. People have to understand what is illegal and what is legal. We have summoned 10 people for questioning till now,” he added.

Police filed an FIR against VPN users who access social networking sites a day after a latest video of Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani in which her murmurs his last wish of burial and his political and religious belief was uploaded on social media.

“We have questioned two people from Geelani’s residence over videos uploaded on social media. They were detained by Budgam Police,” Ashraf told ET.

Notably, according to the Government order, only 1485 websites who fall in white list can be surfed in Valley.

Last year on August 5, when special status of J&K was scrapped and divided into two Union Territories, all forms of communication including broadband Internet and fixed lines were snapped. The communication was restored in phased manner from October. However  High speed 4G Internet and broadband services continue to remain banned in Kashmir.

The administration is repeatedly warning people to not use VPNs for usage of social media.

“We cannot allow people to create panic and law and order situation. These users would be identified and we will make any formal arrest only after being absolutely sure about the user and who uploaded this material,” said Ashraf to ET.