Mobile internet services were shut again in Kashmir to prevent the spead of rumours about the health of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, officials said on Thursday. The internet in the valley was shut once agains on Wednesday late night after a few social media posts came to light, claiming the poor health of the 90-year-old Hurriyat leader.
However, Geelani's family said that while the separatist was ill for sometime, his condition has improved now. Adequate security forces have reportedly been deployed at vulnerable places in Kashmir to maintain law and order and prevent miscreants from fomenting any trouble.
Mobile internet services in the Kashmir valley was again snapped on Monday as a precautionary measure as separatist groups called for a protest on the death anniversary of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front founder Maqbool Bhat. Authorities had on Sunday also snapped the services as a precautionary measure to prevent any law and order disturbance on the seventh death anniversary of Afzal Guru.
Restrictions have been put on communication links since August 5. These were subsequently eased. The Internet is functional at a few places through leased lines. Mobile internet facility has been made functional but with a speed of 2G with special instructions that it would not be used to access social media sites.
The Kashmir Press Club on Monday said security agencies were resorting to threats and intimidation of journalists working in the valley. The press club held a meeting on Monday where the member associations expressed concern that ever since Article 370 was repealed, the government was not enabling journalists and media to operate freely from the valley.
"This is evident from the prolonged six-month internet shutdown in the region since August 5. As if that was not enough, physical attacks, threats and summons to journalists are being employed by security agencies to intimidate journalists," the Kashmir Press Club (KPC) said in a statement after the meeting. It said harassment of journalists by police's counter-insurgency centre in Srinagar has become a "routine exercise"."The harassment and questioning of journalists in Kashmir on flimsy grounds by the J&K Police for their work is in fact a damning verdict on the appalling condition in which the media is operating," it added.
The press club said restrictions on internet and forcibly seeking undertakings from news organisations for allowing limited internet access, constant surveillance by police and physical attacks and summons-- are the tools designed and aimed to ensure only government-promoted version is heard outside.
(with PTI inputs)