India blocks social media in Kashmir in wake of abuse videos

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India has ordered internet service providers in Indian-controlled Kashmir to block Facebook, Twitter and 20 other social media sites and online applications for one month, after several videos and photos depicting alleged abuses of Kashmiris by Indian security forces sparked outrage and fueled protests.

The government said the restrictions ordered Wednesday were made “in the interest of maintenance of public order.” But Pranesh Prakash, policy director for the Indian advocacy group the Center for Internet and Society, called it a “blow to freedom of speech” and “legally unprecedented in India.”

“It not only violates the Indian constitution but also violates international law,” he said.

The government has often halted internet service in the region in the past in an attempt to prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized. But this is the first time authorities have shut down social media following the circulation of videos of alleged abuse by Indian soldiers.

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