Action against FB users condemned

Action against FB users condemned

SRINAGAR, Apr 15: The ‘crackdown’ on youth involved in, as claimed by police, objectionable activities on the social networking site Facebook was today criticized and condemned by the mainstream parties, separatists as well as the human rights groups.

The police has quizzed four boys, all of them students, for allegedly posting anti-national contents on the Facebook pages created by them. The youths, according to police, have been released “after counseling” and will be watched over in near future. The police has deleted the pages from the site.

Reacting to the police action, the principal opposition party, PDP, accused the government of bringing a bad name to the entire generation.

“First they called every boy in Kashmir stone-pelters and now they are dubbing them as cyber criminals,” the spokesman of the party, Nayeem Akhtar, said.

The party saw the ‘crackdown’ as “intrusion” and “another way of curbing freedom of expression.”

“On one hand the CM is announcing amnesty and on the other hand they are engaging more and more youths in this ‘frivolous war’,” they said.

The separatists on the other hand are questioning the term, anti-national, used by the state. The veteran separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani said the term “is vague” and that “anyone righting about the history of the land cannot be dubbed as anti-national.”

“If someone talks about freedom of Kashmir or the right to self determination or talks about the history of this land, it is not anti-national.

Calling Jammu and Kashmir a disputed territory is not anti-national. It (freedom or self determination) is our birth right and writing or talking about is 100 per cent genuine, even if it is on Facebook,” Geelani said, “The concept of nationalism used by the state here is not based on justice and equality. Therefore, the term anti-national is not acceptable.”

The human rights groups in the valley believe that with such moves the “government of India is contradicting its claims.”

“On the one hand the Government of India is claiming to be a democracy granting freedom of expression and that it is ready to engage with the people of Kashmir, but on the other hand action is being taken against the youth writing on the Facebook,” Khurram Pervaiz of J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) said.

“It (police action) is instilling fear among the people from expressing views of dissent. It is negating all moves that were taken off late for peace. If writing on Facebook is sedition, then all efforts for peace and dialogue are rendered meaningless,” Khurram added.

[Kashmir Times]

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