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After sticks and stones, it’s cyber war in Kashmir

| YUSUF JAMEEL
Published : Jul 27, 2016, 6:38 am IST
Updated : Jul 27, 2016, 6:38 am IST

As pro-azadi protests and stone-pelting incidents go unabated in the Kashmir Valley, a cyber war is also under way and was only intensified on Tuesday when Facebook blocked some more pages of its user

As pro-azadi protests and stone-pelting incidents go unabated in the Kashmir Valley, a cyber war is also under way and was only intensified on Tuesday when Facebook blocked some more pages of its users, including that of key separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani or deleted posts, photographs and videos placed on these, citing “community standards”.

Also, the Facebook page of leading Srinagar English newspaper, Rising Kashmir (RK), was hacked by a group that calls itself “Cyber Caliphate-black flags are coming”. Given the nature of posts, photographs and videos it posted on the page in quick succession, the hackers’ group owes allegiance to Daesh or ISIS. It also placed “Daulat e Islamia Iraq o Sham’s” anthem and other “revolutionary” and “rebellious” songs on the RK’s hacked Facebook page to encourage mujahedin or “holy fighters” in Kashmir, promising them that the “dawn of freedom” was about to break.

The newspaper’s Twitter account was also hacked for being interlinked with that of its Facebook page. “Muslims of Kashmir: Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you”, said a tweet on it from the hackers. Another tweet said, “This is a warning to all the prestitutes of Kashmir, who have sold their conscience and for Indian salaries have...” A post warns J&K police, “For the eunuchs of J&K Police, we know this is going to be a long war, a day will come when we will use kitchen knives, cars, buses against you and you would not even know what hit you.”

Syed Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of the daily, said, “We’re trying to recover the page.”

Earlier, the online social networking site Facebook deleted the page of Mr Geelani who said they did it because he had shared an image of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander who was killed by security forces on July 8 and whose social media campaign had an outreach among a section of Kashmiri Muslim youth.

Taking to Twitter.com, the octogenarian separatist leader said, “Our FB page has been deleted by Facebook for sharing the image of Burhan Wani. It didn’t meet their community standards.” When one would go to his Facebook page —facebook.com/syedaligeelani — the message that appears is as follows: “Sorry, this page isn’t available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.”

On Monday, a Pakistan-based “welfare society” photoshopped Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and several other Indian celebrities with pellet and bullet wounds to powerfully highlight the killing and maiming of protesters by security forces while containing an 18-day-old unrest in the Kashmir Valley. The others whose morphed photographs were placed on Facebook and Twitter.com by “Never Forget Pakistan”.

In the backdrop of Facebook removing many posts and photographs depicting the Kashmir situation and views on these from some of the users over the past couple of weeks, Mr. Zuckerberg was told by anonymous ‘Kashmiri Youth’, “You have been such an inspiration for us. Staying strong and uplifting our spirits with your resilience...However, we’re sorry we have let you down. We tried to post your interview and pictures of your injuries on Facebook to get the word out but Facebook keeps on taking them down citing their ‘community standards’”. The album which stays on the Facebook page of ‘Never Forget Pakistan’ is titled “What If You Knew The Victim ” Pakistani lawyer and activist Mohammed Jibran Nasir had said he started the project along with artists Batool Aqeel and Murtaza Abbas after he saw pictures of Kashmiri children’s faces mutilated with pellets. “We are just amplifiers, the voice we are amplifying is of the Kashmiri people. We are glad that the Kashmiris have responded positively and if we are able to add even an iota to their strength we would consider our work done,” he was quoted as saying by BuzzFeed.

Location: India, Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar