Recently the government decided to administer the Whatsapp groups in the Valley. The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Asgar Samoon held a high-level meeting after the Handwara episode and decided to Up the security conditions in Kashmir. It was then, that they came up with the rule of restricting the social sites from posting unnecessary and often incredible information regarding the happenings of the valley . Also, they decided to bring Whatsapp under this pact.
As per this rule, the Whatsapp group Admins will have to register their groups with the district Deputy Commissioner. The group owners have been a time limit of 10 days. Accordingly, the messages that would going on in the groups would also be accessible to the authorities. As a result of which if any group’s content is anti-national or provocative in nature, then that group admin would be liable to punishment. This decision however got really mixed reviews.
An owner of a showroom at Lal Chowk said, “Some of the masses think of it as an intrusion to their privacy, as people tend to exchange really important yet intimate information on Whatsapp and knowing that the Government Computers are sneaking into your private Chats, can be really Alarming.”
He however added, ” It is a good step overall in a place like Kashmir where every now and then you read a rumour on WhatsApp of facebook and protests start. People here are annoyed with rumour-mongers playing with our emotions.”
More people in Lal Chowk area were in the favour of the monitoring rule.
One of the residents of Lal Chowk and Handicrafts Shop owner said that this was probably the best decision taken by the government so far. Adding he said, “Messages of disputes with the army have shot up and get circulated in the entire valley every day. In actuality it is just a regular army convoy passing by. The Handwara episode also shot to flame, when the same messages rumored that 4 people had died on the first day of the incident, when only 2 of them were actually dead. These and many more such misleading information that is being passed on in social networks is one of the main reasons why Kashmir has not been in peace for a long time.”
The All India Students Association(AISA) in Kupwara condemned this action taken by the Government saying that the Right to Expression is under direct question with such impositions on the media.
With government all set to take stern steps to ensure harmony throughout the State, even auditing the Whatsapp messages wouldn’t feel wrong.