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India arrests Kashmiri civilian for social media post

On 27th March, a man was arrested and booked for uploading posts on social media in Pulwama district of Kashmir valley. 

A Kashmiri social media user, namely Sameer Ahmed, was detained for a post he made on Facebook. In the post, he had stated that a Kashmiri boy from his area had decided to join the Kashmiri freedom movement. 

The family of Sameer is facing serious troubles due to his arrest. They maintain that Sameer was not involved in any political activity and was detained only for his social media use. 

The police FIR against Sameer also states that he “has been found circulating incriminating content on social media, thereby disrupting public peace and tranquility”. 

India has characterized any use of social media that goes against state interests as a criminal and terrorist activity, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The Act defines as terrorism as any action that is taken by an individual or association, “whether by committing an act or by words, either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise”, which disclaims, questions, disrupts or is intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, causes or is intended to cause disaffection against India and which is intended or supports any claim to bring about the cession or secession of a part of the territory of India.

This vagueness and ambiguity of the scope of law is deliberate as it has allowed India to use UAPA against a wide set of people in Kashmir, from social media users to journalists and human rights defenders. Kashmiris have been booked under UAPA even for supporting Pakistan cricket team in a sports match.

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