NEW DELHI: While there were street protests in Kashmir against the recent hanging of Afzal Guru, an online one raged against the curfew and the suspension of internet services in the valley. Kashmirinetizens tweeted that the internet could be accessed through a broadband connection, but not through data cards and mobile.
One of the Twitter accounts of the “hacktivist” collective Anonymous – @YourAnonNews – joined the chorus against the internet block. The account asked for updates on the on-ground situation on the hash tag “#KashmirNow,” which appeared amongst the top trends (most tweeted about topics) on the microblogging website on Monday.
“Please tweet ANY information about open lines of communication to #KashmirBlackout. Follow #KashmirNow for situational updates,” read a late afternoon tweet from the account on Monday.
The location of some of the tweeters remained unclear. “Defying curfew, 100s of people in Pattan & Palhalan area of north Kashmir took to streets & staged massive protests. #KashmirNow,” tweeted @ShaalKak.
“Tear gas was the usual thing. Notorious Indian police is bombing the downtown with chilli grenades now. Breathing impossible #KashmirNow,” read a Twitter update from the account @KashmirForever. There were more reports of breach of curfew and the resultant backlash from another Twitter user @basitbanday, who tweeted, “Reports suggest curfew has been defied at least in 4 areas in capital, Srinagar. Heavy clashes going on. #KashmirNow.”
There were others who traded tips online on surviving and bypassing an information blackout and internet blocks, suggesting the use of dial-up modems and fax. @YourAnonNews also suggested accessing Twitter through text message, though soon enough another user pointed out that text messaging is banned in Kashmir.
Earlier in October 2012, internet services and access to social networking sites took a hit in the valley after protests escalated worldwide against an “anti-Islam” video on video-sharing website YouTube.