Representational Image. Image Courtesy: News18
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir police shot a mail to media Friday evening inadvertently revealing a list of Twitter handles, it has monitored in the month of September, sharing news and updates on the ground situation in Kashmir.
The email was received from Police Media Center as a press release informing about the arrest of three drug peddlers and seizure of contraband substances along with three attachments—two of which were photographs of the drug bust carried out by police in Bonpora Budgam.
In the email, however, a document titled DNA Sep.docx was also attached, which included tweets from various social media handles on the micro-blogging site Twitter.
The list, an eight-page document containing screenshots of twitter posts, included new and updates from activists, journalists and international media organisations on Kashmir amid the government-imposed clampdown in the region in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 which guaranteed special status to J&K. Ahead of the move, the authorities arrested thousands including lawyers, businessmen, traders, politicians and women and children.
The government while enforcing the severe clampdown imposed a communication blockade in the region blocking all mobile, landline and internet services. Even as the landline and mobile telephony has been restored, partially, internet services continue to remain suspended in the entire Valley for more than three months now.
The mediapersons from the Valley have been provided with a media facilitation centre, regulating its use through less than a dozen computers for nearly 500 media professionals.
Authorities in Kashmir have come under severe criticism for choking space in Kashmir and stopping communications since August—especially from international rights groups like UN and Amnesty. Earlier, the police, in a press conference in August, had claimed that it was monitoring twitter accounts “spreading rumours”.
The authorities, a few days back, banned broadcast of networks from various countries including Turkey, Malaysia Pakistan and Iran in the region. The list shared in the Friday mail included news channel handles from Pakistan, Germany and Turkey as well.
The document listed Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan and journalist Hamid Mir. Among news channels, the list included of German news channel DW News, Turkish broadcaster TRT World, Pakistani channels ARY and Samaa English and also Radio Pakistan.
The names of activist-turned-politician Shehla Rashid and Kashmiri journalist Ahmed Ali Fayyaz also featured in the list amongst the twitter handles being monitored.
The police later issued another email informing media to ignore the previous email. “In reference to our Press release no Note, S-11/19/872 dated 22/11/2019 an attachment DNA Sep.doc has been inadvertently received by you. You are requested to ignore this attachment,” the email stated.
Also watch: Kashmir: Journalists Struggle with Internet Shutdown