Srinagar, February 19: The government of India has ordered all the Internet service licensees to immediately block access to around 55 pages created on Facebook after the hanging of Afzal Guru.
An order in this connection has been issued by the Indian Department of Telecommunication (DoT), Ministry of Communication & IT.
The order (No. 813-7/25/2011-DS (Vol-II)-I is signed by Subodh Saxena, a Director rank official of the DoT, and does not provide any reasons as to why it “has been decided to immediately block the access” to the listed URLs (Uniform Resource Locator), reports said.
The pages were created soon after Afzal Guru was hanged and buried inside New Delhi’s Tihar jail on February 9. The pages have since become virtual hotspots for criticising New Delhi’s decision to hang Guru. Besides blocking access to Facebook pages, the Ministry order has also sought blocking of URLs to six individual profiles.
Some of the pages, which the Indian ministry wants to be removed from the Facebook include: ‘Shaheed Afzal Guru,’ Afzal Guru hum sharminda hai-Apke qatil Zinda hai,’ ‘We condemn the hanging of Afzal Guru,’ ‘Afzal Guru- the legend of Kashmir,’ and ‘I am Afzal Guru,’.
“You are accordingly directed to immediately block the access to above URLs only and not the main website i.e., www.facebook.com.
Outlook Report below:
Kindly do not mention the name of URL in the compliance letter,” the order reads.
You have read about the opaque manner in which the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has gone about trying to block the URLs relating to IIPM.
It turns out that on the same day, on 14.02.2013, it also issued similar instructions about Facebook URLs relating to pages about Afzal Guru.
As in the case of its order about IIPM, this one (No 813-7/25/2011-DS(Vol-II)-I too is signed by Subodh Saxena and does not provide any reasons as to why it “has been decided to immediately decided to block the access” to the listed URLs.
Nor is it clear on what grounds, or under what law, these pages have been sought to be blocked — clearly, DoT’s order has not been implemented as the service providers have not been able to block individual Faceboo URLs and they remain accessible.
A copy of the order is available here and also appended below: