Srinagar: A Twitter war has broken out between youth leaders of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition National Conference (NC) with both heaping blame on each other for embargoes imposed on freedom of speech in Kashmir.
The stinging debate was triggered by former students’ union leader of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Shehla Rashid Shora, after she tagged Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in her tweet: “@MehboobaMufti, with all due respect to you as a fellow woman in politics, what kind of dictatorship is your PDP-BJP govt running in J&K? You’ve been elected to govern, not to gag. An elected representative is supposed to serve, not rule.”
In response to Shehla’s tweet, the president of PDP’s youth wing wrote that the social media policy was brought in to curb deaths due to hateful posts on social media.
“It has been shown that, more than likely, this preventive measure will lead to save human lives rather than curing them in aftermath. We cannot afford to lose another generation of young ones by disruptive, illogical & hateful posts which creates chaos & confusion leading to deaths,” tweeted Waheed Ur Rehman in defence of the social media policy.
This tweet did not augur well with NC’s young leader and political secretary to former chief minister Omar Abdullah, Tanvir Sadiq, who mocked at Waheed with the tweet, “How does a post – a like – or a comment by an employee save a human life or lead to a death? Wow and How exactly?”
This infuriated the PDP’s young leader who reminded Sadiq that the NC government imposed embargoes on cable TV and SMS messages.
“May I remind you of your own SMS ban and cable TV blackouts or you forgot same!” replied Parra to Sadiq. The NC leader had no answers to this.
This spat attracted the attention of other PDP activists, who chipped in to defend the party’s position.
“True it. I too believe that prevention is better than cure and IT Acts 2008 teaches us the same,” tweeted Umer Wani in defence of Parra.
However, there were some handles who opposed Parra’s views.
“Oddly enough these two civilian deaths were not caused by disruptive hateful posts. They were caused by the very regime you support. Explain how your preventive measure would stop these deaths?” questioned Dr Rita Pal in a tweet.
Another response in favour of the social media policy came from the government’s media cell.
“This is not gag order but Govt has only updated service conduct rules for employees. Can you justify an employee taking salary while running politics, provoking the people, disseminating wrong info through social media without contributing to the services for which he is being paid,” tweeted Tahir Syeed, a member of the government’s media cell in response to Shehla’s tweet.
Finally, the media consultant to the chief minister, Rishi Suri, also jumped into the debate. He retweeted Shehla’s tweet and added a comment to explain the position of the government.