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Kashmir to Bring in Law to Criminalize Online Content ‘Disrupting Peace’

The police in Indian-administered Kashmir have said a law will be introduced to prohibit the posting of online content that has the potential to “trigger religious violence, disrupt peace, and promote terrorism and separatism.”

“We have decided to bring a law temporarily under the 144 Criminal Procedure Code that will criminalize the sharing of audio, video and text messages that disrupt communal harmony or seek to intimidate people, either by separatist or mischievous elements,” Director General of Police Rashmi Ranjan Swain told reporters in Jammu on Thursday.

Section 144 is applied when a dangerous event is likely to happen. Although the scope is wide, it is mainly used to prohibit gatherings of four or more people.

He said the law will make the sharing or forwarding of such content a criminal offence and such individuals will be dealt with under the law.

The police chief’s comments came after a non-local engineering student was booked for posting blasphemous comments about Prophet Muhammad, the last and greatest prophet of Islam, triggering outrage from some religious organizations.

Fearing trouble, the management of the National Institute of Engineering (NIT) in the capital Srinagar declared winter vacations and asked resident students to vacate hostels.

The majority of students at this engineering institution are from various parts of India, and there have been incidents in the past between local and non-local students on different issues.

Disputed region

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965, and 1971. Two of them were over Kashmir.

Also, in the Siachen glacier region in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

Thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989, according to several human rights organizations.

Source : aa