New Delhi, Jun 11: The government will examine the feasibility of blocking WhatsApp calling services in insurgency-hit areas such as Jammu and Kashmir as it has come to light that militants are using the facility to be in constant touch with their handlers sitting across the border, officials have said.
The issue was flagged during a meeting held here on Monday under the chairmanship of Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba where the recent arrests in connection with the attack at Nagrota Army camp in 2016 was highlighted.
The arrested militants told the Jammu and Kashmir Police that they were taking directions from across the border through WhatsApp call, they said.
Seven Army men were killed in the Nagrota attack.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) recently took custody of the three people, arrested by the state police for their alleged involvement in helping the militants which included ferrying them from the border and guiding them to the Army camp.
The meeting, which was attended by top officials from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and those from security agencies as well as Jammu and Kashmir Police, was called to discuss the removal of ‘malicious content’ from various social networking sites posted by ‘keypad jihadis’, who ‘spew venom’ on the Internet with an intent to create a ‘law and order’ situation by spreading rumours or giving communal colour to any event.
The use of Internet for making calls has increased the problems for security agencies who have been unable to crack it due to end-to-end encryption by the service provider, they said.
An example of some countries which included those from the Gulf were cited during the meeting where neither WhatsApp voice or video calling was allowed, they said.
An official statement released said the meeting discussed effective measures to be taken by the law enforcement agencies to tackle the security challenges being posed by militants.
The meeting also discussed steps to enhance coordination among the law enforcement agencies, MeitY and DoT to block and remove ‘malicious content’ under sections 69 (Power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource) and 79 (limited access to a communication system over which information made available by third parties is transmitted or temporarily stored or hosted) of the IT Act.
It was decided that law enforcement agencies will closely coordinate with MeitY to ensure that the action to block the content on social media platforms is taken in a timely manner.
This will be followed by a meeting with the representatives of social media platforms for compliance, the statement said.
ED imposes Rs 14.4 lakh penalty on Geelani
Srinagar, Mar 22: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Friday imposed Rs 14.4 lakh penalty, on Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani for “illegally” possessing foreign exchange of around $10,000, news agency PTI reported.
After completion of the probe and adjudication proceeding, the ED an order on Wednesday under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), levying the penalty and confiscating forex of $10,000 that was allegedly recovered from Geelani, they said.
The ED will also impose a penalty on Yasin Malik, Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and confiscate foreign exchange recovered from him. The adjudication proceedings against Malik are in progress.
On Wednesday, a Delhi court also allowed ED to quiz Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Shah and others in connection with an alleged funding case.
PDP, NC, PC candidates file nominations for north LS seat
I promise blah, blah, blah…
Srinagar, Mar 22: Members of the three main political parties and an independent candidate Friday submitted their nomination papers for the Lok Sabha seat in north Kashmir, all promising to raise Kashmir issue in the Parliament.
As per the Election Commission of India notification, the last date for filing the nominations for Baramulla Parliamentary seat has been fixed on March 25. The polling will be held on April 11.
On the first day of filing nominations, four candidates submitted theirs on Friday at district development commissioner’s office in Baramulla.
Former trade union leader, Abdul Qayoom Wani submitted the nomination papers to be the Peoples Democratic Party candidate.
Talking to the media after filing the nomination papers, Wani said that PDP was for the resolution of the Kashmir issue.
“We want India, Pakistan, and Kashmiris shall sit together and find a solution to the problem so that the bloodshed is stopped,” Wani said, who joined the PDP in first week of February after voluntarily resigning from government services.
“I will raise the Kashmir issue in the Parliament. Draconian laws have to be abolished. There has to be equitable development of all three regions of the state,” Wani said, adding that he joined the PDP because of its “pro-people policies”.
Wani was accompanied by senior PDP leaders Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Javaid Beigh.
Former minister of the Omar Abdullah-led government, Mohammad Akbar Lone submitted the nomination papers as the National Conference candidate.
“India and Pakistan has to resolve the Kashmir issue to bring peace here. Since 1947, they fought several wars and Kashmir problem is the main reason. There can be no peace in India and Pakistan till Kashmir issue is not solved,” Lone told reporters, claiming he would raise the Kashmir issue in the Parliament.
He said he was “sure” of his win.
“The support of the political parties will be cleared once the election will be over. We hope the NC will emerge victorious in the elections,” he said.
Raja Aijaz Ali of Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference party also filed his nomination papers for the Baramulla-Kupwara Parliamentary seat.
The PC member said that his “aim was to develop the state”.
“My main agenda behind contesting for the Lok Sabha elections is to develop the state. We want the voices of the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be heard in the Parliament. I urge people to give us one chance and cast their ballot in favour of me,” he said.
Sajad said if voted to power they will make efforts to develop the region.
“If voted to power, we will raise the issues pertaining to this region in the Parliament. People are very angry with the traditional political parties here. I am sure that we will win these elections. If we win, this will be for the first time when there will be a Kashmiri ambassador in New Delhi,” he said.
He said there would be no improvement in the situation by the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami.
Sajad also clarified that his political quarter will fight independently in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
One independent candidate Suhail Amir also submitted his nomination papers.
Farooq leads NC-Cong campaign in Jmu
Jammu, Mar 22: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Friday led the campaigning of joint Congress-NC candidates and said the alliance was aimed to keep India secular and “save” it from divisive politics.
Vikramaditya Singh, grandson of erstwhile Sadr-e-Riyast senior Congress leader Karan Singh, and former minister Raman Bhalla, who is a joint candidate of the Congress and its alliance partner NC, from Udhampur and Jammu Lok Sabha seats respectively.
“We have given this sacrifice for one aim – to keep India a secular country and also keep India strong. There is no other goal (in entering into an alliance with the Congress),” Abdullah told reporters here while kickstarting campaigning of the joint candidates.
“To bring country out of this quagmire, we have come together. We ensure you (Congress) our full support,” he said.
Abdullah said the NC has come out to save this country from divisive politics.
“We have come out to save this country from forces (who are dividing the country on the basis of religion) and not to save this state only,” he said.
Farooq said we have to live in this country and strengthen it and its secular ethos which was preached by Mahatma Gandhi.
He asked the Congress candidates to keep an eye on forces about malpractice.
Vikramaditya, while speaking on the occasion, said they will fight at the grass-roots level together to ensure their victory.
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