Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Police have inadvertently revealed they are monitoring social media posts, particularly on microblogging site Twitter, regarding the situation in the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370 in August.
Along with a press release sent to journalists daily, the police on Friday also sent a document containing a list of tweets posted about the situation in Kashmir, particularly about human rights violations there.
The Twitter handles include those of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, its Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, activist Shehla Rashid, three journalists (two of them from Kashmir and another from Pakistan), and a few international news organisations from Turkey, Germany and Pakistan.
Soon after the email, the police sent a rebuttal saying the attached file had been forwarded “inadvertently”, requesting journalists to “ignore” it.
Internet services in Kashmir have been snapped since August 5 when the central government stripped the erstwhile state of its special status and bifurcated it into Union Territories. Restrictions were imposed across the Valley and life is yet to return to normalcy since.
While some semblance of normalcy was reported earlier this week, a shutdown was again witnessed on Thursday and Friday, with most markets remaining closed.
Former finance minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who is on a four-day visit to the Valley with a delegation, said on Friday that the “situation in Kashmir is far from normal”.
Police officers who spoke to News18 on condition of anonymity said social media is being monitored carefully after August 5.
“We are very much concerned about what is happening in the virtual world,” said a police officer. “We monitor social media, particularly Twitter, on a regular basis and the tweets with posts critical of the state are collected.”
Such posts are often reported to the social media websites, the officer added.
The police official said that off late, they have started to monitor more rigorously the updates of media organisations from Turkey, Pakistan, Germany and China regarding Kashmir.
According to officials and reports, as many as 41 people have been killed in J&K since August 5 -- 18 of them are militants, five are local civilians, and 12 non-locals killed by suspected militants. Four civilians have also been killed by security forces during protests, said the officials. The casualties include two personnel of the armed forces.
Reports also show that around 50 shops across the Valley were set on fire or damaged by “mischievous elements” during the period. At around 60 places, official sources said, posters have emerged urging people to continue the strike.