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6 months ago

Ahead of Art 370 verdict, tightened security & eye on social media in J&K

Srinagar: A head of the Supreme Court’s Article 370 verdict Monday, authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have tightened the security grid on the ground and are monitoring social media, warning of strict action and booking five users for ‘rumours’ and ‘hateful’ content.

‘There have been orders to upgrade the security ahead of the verdict. We are deploying more police and paramilitary forces on the ground and monitoring social media activity,’ said a senior police officer. ‘We have already set-up some checkpoints and checking of vehicles and passengers.’

On Friday evening, the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of Law and Order, Vijay Kumar, chaired a special security review meeting, attended by top police and Intelligence officers, to plan for any negative fallout from the verdict.

An official release said: ‘All district heads were stressed to keep eye on the situation, and take preventive and punitive actions under law those who indulge in mischief, misinformation and misuse of social media.’

The five social media users were booked a day after the meeting. Police, however, didn’t explain the nature of the content in question. While two users each were booked in Budgam and Ganderbal districts, one was booked in Baramulla.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti, meanwhile, alleged that police are seeking lists of her party workers. ‘What I am hearing is that lists of our workers are being sought through police stations. I want to tell the Supreme Court that your responsibility is not to further the BJP agenda but is towards the integrity of the country,’ she was quoted as saying in a PDP statement.

Official statements said ADGP Kumar asked officers to not allow ‘mischievous elements to vitiate the peace and harmony’.

‘To uphold peace and order, Budgam Police has taken strict measures against individuals misusing social media platforms to spread rumours. Two troublemakers have been booked and presented before the Magistrate, with ongoing investigations into the matter,’ Budgam police said Saturday. ‘Budgam Police encourages the public to stay vigilant and collaborate with law enforcement to apprehend any individuals engaging in disruptive activities and abusing social media, posing a threat to the community’s peace and tranquillity’.

Ganderbal Police said it has ‘initiated legal action against two individuals for uploading and sharing hateful content on social media platforms’ and identified them as Waseem Mushtaq Malik of Safapora and Aadil Ahmed Rather of Nunner, Ganderbal. Another individual, Bilal Ahmad Wani, of Baliharan Pattan was booked on similar charges.

PDP leader Iltija Mufti, Mehbooba’s daughter and her media advisor, criticised the police warning of action against the social media users.

‘Two days before SC declares its verdict on Article 370, JK Police declares punitive action against those ‘indulging in mischief on social media’ and ‘breachers of peace’. Seems likely they already know the verdict,’ Iltija tweeted.

The Supreme Court has listed for pronouncement of judgment the petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories by the Centre on August 5, 2019.

A five-judge bench of the apex court reserved its verdict on the petitions on September 5 after conducting daily hearings in the matter from August 2. (The Indian Express)

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