The Facebook and Instagram handles of the Indian Army's Srinagar-headquartered 15 Corps have been blocked by the service provider for nearly a week now, sources said on Tuesday.
The two handles were created by the strategically important 15 Corps to counter and negate propaganda unleashed from across the border and to apprise the people of the real situation in the Kashmir Valley. The account handles were blocked as they were used extensively to showcase the Republic Day celebrations, the security establishments alleged.
The Chinar Corps of Indian Army is responsible for guarding the Line of Control and anti-terror operations in the mainland Kashmir. "A link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed", read the messages on both Facebook as well as Instagram pages of the Chinar Corps, a popular name of 15 Corps. Both Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company.
Under normal conditions, the page/account on Facebook and Instagram is blocked if the user does not follow the regulations of the company. The force is awaiting response from Facebook and Instagram after their handles were blocked.
Sources said that the account of Indian Army was blocked on January 28, two days after India celebrated Republic Day posted how the locals took part in the celebration. A senior Indian Army officer said: "We have informed the establishment which have reached out to them. We are still waiting for their response."
But security establishments were 'surprised' that the US giants did not respond to them. Another social media giant Twitter did not engage itself into the issue. Sources said that the blocking might have taken place due to unexpected mass complaints from Pakistan but also stated "how any country stops others from celebrations". The social media platforms in India are under scanner for various reasons.
Last year, India's apex court had upheld Delhi Assembly's Committee on Peace and Harmony summons to Facebook to appear before its committees on grounds of its privilege. The Supreme Court held that digital platforms like Facebook have become power centres that have the ability to influence opinions.
The court said they thus will have to remain accountable. Dismissing the plea, the apex court had stated that entities like Facebook, which has around 270 million users in India, have to remain accountable to those who entrust them with such power. Facebook had approached the Supreme Court to challenge the summons issued by the Delhi Assembly's Peace and Harmony committee for failing to appear before it as witness in connection with the Delhi riots.