Govt. To Block 55 Fan Pages On Afzal Guru


KL Report

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The government has asked internet service providers to block URL’s of 55 Facebook pages related to Afzal Guru. The notice by the Department of Telecom was issued a day before internet services were restored in Kashmir Valley after remaining suspended for a week following Afzal’s hanging.

It was on the same day, February 14 that the notice ordering ISPs to block 73 web pages with content relating to a private management college, Indian Institute of Planning and Management, was issued.

The hanging of Afzal Guru, convict for Parliament attack, set off a spate of protests in Kashmir despite a week-long curfew in the Valley which led to debates on social networking sites. Such online conversations are still going on when the people across the Valley are demanding the mortal remains of Afzal Guru to be handed over to their families.

More than 100 pages and communities sprung up in different parts of the territory during the past few hours of hanging. Each page is liked by the thousands of Facebook users who are putting forth their views and criticizing the government of India for taking the decision of hanging Guru without informing his family members.

Thousands of people have also set up the picture of Afzal Guru as their profile picture while most have preferred to keep it as black as a mark of protest.

As reported by Indian based newspaper, the list of 55 Facebook pages includes several support groups and fan pages for Afzal Guru in addition to a profile page of a Bahraini journalist and the Facebook page of a Kashmiri news portal.

The DoT spokesperson didn’t confirm who actually has requested to block these pages and group coordinator on cyber laws, Gulshan Rai, who is authorized to send out block notices to ISPs could not be reached for comment.

The notice was not made public by the DoT. The IT Rules introduced in 2009 prohibit disclosure about processes involved in blocking of internet sites.

Delhi-based lawyer Apar Gupta said the move seemed to be “calculated” since it came just before restoration of internet services in the Valley. “Legally speaking, some of the pages for which the block has been called speak of avenging Guru’s death. However, the notice does not specify the reasons why the block has been ordered. It gives an impression that the government has something to hide,” said Gupta.

“The government seems to be growing reliant on blocking as a mode of governance, which is worrying, said cyber lawyer Pavan Duggal.

The list of blocked URL includes


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