Internet shutdown in Kashmir- No one knows who ordered it
An RTI query by Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) revealed that the internet ban in Kashmir was not ordered by official authorities. The home department and the divisional commissioner's offices which are responsible for law and order hadn't ordered the clampdown. Kashmir had suffered for 4 months under a mobile internet ban to clamp down controversial videos in J&K.
Militancy in Kashmir exploits new information and communication technology and the war now encompasses cyberspace and physical territory. The offensive of radicals has been enhanced by cyberspace which is inexpensive and quickly proliferating. Militants are using the Internet to garner "moral support, recruit personnel, and transmit propaganda, leading to the further militarization of the Kashmiri youth", bringing in the need to curtail internet freedom.
After the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on 8 July 2016, the internet on mobiles etc were clamped down to restore order in the valley. The terror units in Kashmir were using the internet to float videos amongst the Kashmiri youth asking them to raise arms against the Police and Army. Prepaid mobile phones and even certain landline numbers were snapped.
It was revealed that since 2012 there have been 31 cases of social media and internet clampdown in J&K. The UN called it a "worrying pattern aimed at curbing protests and social unrest in the region."
The clampdown on the internet and social media in Kashmir were criticized as an infringement of Fundamental Rights. Even the UN experts weighed in on this and asked the Indian government to withdraw the ban on social media and internet services in Jammu and Kashmir and restore freedom of expression. They added that the ban could "aggravate violence in the restive state".
Replying to the RTI that asked for an order on shutting the internet, the home department addressed the divisional commissioner (Kashmir) saying the "subject matter of information sought pertains to your department, therefore, the application is forwarded to you." Divisional commissioner's office replied saying that "no such order was issued by this office regarding shut down of phones, internet, mobile phones, mobile internet".