New Delhi: In a major crackdown the government has blocked 14 messenger mobile applications that were largely used in Jammu and Kashmir for spreading militantcy, sources said, adding that the decision has been taken by the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology following intelligence inputs in this regard.
The sources said as per the input received by the Ministry these mobile applications were used by terrorists in Kashmir to communicate with their supporters and Over-Ground-workers (OGW).
These applications include Crypviser, Enigma, Safeswiss, Wickrme, Mediafire, Briar, BChat, Nandbox, Conion, IMO, Element, Second line, Zangi, Threema among others, the sources said.
“The intelligence and security agencies keep tracking different channels used by OGWs and terrorists to communicate among themselves. While tracking down one of the communications they found that the mobile application does not have representatives in India and it is difficult to track down activities happening on the app,” a source said.
“Thereafter, with the help of other intelligence agencies operating in the valley, a list of such apps was prepared that pose a threat to national security and do not follow Indian laws. After getting the list prepared, the Ministry was informed of the request to ban these mobile applications. These apps have been blocked under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000,” he said.
In official communications to higher-ups, the intelligence agencies informed that these apps are spreading terror propaganda in the Valley.
The crackdown on mobile applications threatening the country’s security is not new, as the government has banned several of the Chinese apps in the past.
In the last few years, the government of India has imposed bans on around 250 Chinese apps citing them to be “prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state and public order”.
Since June 2020, the government has banned over 200 Chinese apps, including popular applications like TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, Xender, Camscanner, popular mobile games like PUBG Mobile and Garena Free Fire.