wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

J&K police lodge FIR against people for using social media via VPNs; Our take

The Jammu & Kahsmir police on Monday lodged an FIR against people for using social media platforms via VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), reported the Indian Express.

Why was the FIR lodged? The FIR has been lodged taking note of the social media posts by ‘miscreants’ using VPNs, which allegedly ‘spread rumours regarding the current security situation in Kashmir, secessionist ideology, and glorifying terrorists’, the police said, per the publication.

It was lodged under UAPA, IPC, and Section 66A of the IT Act: The FIR has been lodged under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Sections 188 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 66A of the Information Technology Act. Section 66A was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2015.

“Taking a serious note of the misuse of social media, the Cyber Police Station, Kashmir Zone, Srinagar, has registered an FIR against various social media users, who defied the government orders and misused the social media platforms,” a Srinagar-based police spokesman said on Monday, per the report. Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar appealed to the general public not to use social media via VPNs, per the report.

J&K government reiterated social media and VPN ban: The J&K government had on February 15 reiterated the ban on social media applications and VPN applications, and said that reports had been received from intelligence and law enforcement agencies that social media sites are being accessed through VPN applications “for coordinating terror activities” and “to upload provocative material aimed at disturbing public order”.

Internet access in J&K: The Jammu & Kashmir government restored limited access — it restored 2G internet to only 301 whitelisted websites on January 27. The government whitelisted another 180 websites to the whitelist on February 7, and another 1,000 websites to the list on February 15. The erstwhile state was was under the longest internet shutdown in the world, which started on August 5 with the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution. The shutdown continued until the Supreme Court on January 11 ordered a review of the internet blackout, in response to a petition by Kashmiri journalist and editor Anuradha Bhasin.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

MediaNama’s take

Nikhil adds: If you read the order, the VPN ban is applicable to ISPs, which are supposed to prevent the usage of VPNs. There is nothing in the order that makes circumvention of this order by Internet users illegal, and a cause for arrest. VPNs cannot and should not be banned: in the age of surveillance, they provide some privacy to individuals for their Internet usage. A ban on VPNs would be disproportionate, and a violation of the fundamental right to privacy, which also has a chilling effect on free speech. Of course, given the Indian government’s authoritarian clamp-down on Kashmir, and its disproportionate and possibly illegal usage of laws to arrest political leaders, censor speech, control the media narrative and convert an entire state into a prison, nothing is surprising anymore. The rest of India should be worried about this approach being used on them at some point in time.

Read more: Crackdown against VPN usage in Kashmir

Written By

I cover health, policy issues such as intermediary liability, data governance, internet shutdowns, and more. Hit me up for tips.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



When news that Walmart would soon accept cryptocurrency turned out to be fake, it also became a teachable moment.


The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.


In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...


By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...


By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Yash Desai The Government of India circulated proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which...

You May Also Like


Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...


By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...


135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...


Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ