The home ministry on Wednesday denied any move to block popular social media application Whatsapp in militancy-hit areas of Jammu & Kashmir, while also conceding that the encryption technology employed by the service provider made it impossible to monitor the communication being provided by it.
There were reports that Whatsapp was being used by terrorist outfits active in J&K to pass on instructions for terror-related activities, leading the home ministry to hold a meeting recently with representatives of the Central security agencies and J&K police on how to deal with the the misuse of social media applications.
Many media outlets had reported that the government may ban the use of WhatsApp because it was being widely used by “anti-national forces” to stir up unrest in disturbed areas and to spread communal content as well as rumours.
While the popular social media application has been reported to have been misused to spread videos, propaganda and even gather people for stone pelting, in militancy-hit regions, no ban is under consideration.
A meeting was held under the chairmanship of home secretary Rajiv Gauba where the arrests in connection with the attack at Nagrota Army camp in 2016 were discussed.
The arrested militants of Jaish-e-Mohammed had reportedly told the Jammu and Kashmir police that they were taking directions from across the border through WhatsApp calls. Seven army men were martyred in the Nagrota attack.
In June 2016, the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea seeking a ban on WhatsApp and other communication applications on security grounds.
However, minister of state for home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir on Wednesday clarified in Rajya Sabha that there was no plan to estrict or block the use of Whatsapp in militancy-hit parts of J&K. “Because of encryption and propriety coding-decoding technique being used by Voice over Internet Protocol provider, it is not possible to monitor the communication being provided by such service providers,” he said in written reply to a question.
(With Inputs from TOI)