Academics and activists yesterday accused Facebook of censoring posts about Kashmir as a curfew in the region extended into its 14th day following unrest that has left 48 protesters dead.
Facebook users posting on the violence in Kashmir in Britain, the US, India and Pakistan said their posts had been removed or their profiles permanently deleted by the Silicon Valley giant citing “violation of community standards”.
Wide-scale protests against the government have flared across the region since the killing on July 8 of popular rebel leader Burhan Wani in a firefight with government forces.
Professor Huma Dar, a Kashmiri-origin academic at the University of California Berkeley, said her profile was permanently disabled after she posted photos of Wani and a video of his funeral attended by tens of thousands of mourners.
“We will not reactivate it for any reason,” Dar said Facebook informed her.
Professor Dibyesh Anand of London’s Westminster University said his posts about the actions of security forces, which have drawn criticism for their heavy-handed tactics, were removed twice. “They (Facebook) apologised. But they blocked a second time within a day, again for 24 hours for a mild post,” Anand said from London.
“When a conspicuous number of posts relating to Indian state violence in Kashmir gets removed by Facebook and profiles of academics and writers blocked, it is clear that there is censorship,” Anand said.
More than 3,000 people, hundreds of them police officers, have been injured in the clashes, overwhelming hospitals in the region’s main city of Srinagar. Authorities have imposed a curfew, suspended mobile networks and internet in large parts of the territory and seized newspapers in a bid to quell protests.
US-based social activist Mary Scully said her posts were also removed on more than one occasion, citing community standards.
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