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India bans social media sites to quell unrest in Kashmir

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Kashmir
Kashmir

Kashmiri students browse internet on their mobile phones as they sits inside a restaurant in Srinagar, Indian administered Kashmir, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. On Wednesday, authorities ordered internet service providers to block 16 social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, and popular online chat applications for one month “in the interest of maintenance of public order.”

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir have banned 22 social media sites in an effort to calm tensions in the disputed region after videos depicting the alleged abuse of Kashmiris by Indian forces fueled protests. However, some sites have remained online as the local telecom company struggled to block them.

India’s government this week said that the one-month ban was necessary for public safety because social media were being “misused by anti-national and anti-social elements.”

“It’s being felt that continued misuse of social networking sites and instant messaging services is likely to be detrimental to the interests of peace and tranquility in the state,” the public order said.

Pranesh Prakash, policy director for the Indian advocacy group the Center for Internet and Society, called the ban a “blow to freedom of speech” and “legally unprecedented in India,” in an interview with ABC News.

An official with Kashmir’s state-owned telecom company, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd., said engineers were still working on shutting down the 22 sites, including Facebook and Twitter, but so far had been unable to do so without freezing the internet across the Himalayan region. Meanwhile, 3G and 4G cellphone service has been suspended for more than a week, but slower 2G service is still available.

Residents of Srinagar, the region’s main city, have been frantically downloading documents, software and applications onto their smartphones which would likely be able to circumvent the social media block once it goes into effect. Many expressed relief to still have internet access early Thursday morning.

While the government has axed internet access in Kashmir in previous attempts to prevent unrest, this is the first time they have done so in response to the circulation of videos and photos showing alleged military abuse. Criticizers have taken to the internet to mock the government — a Facebook post by Kashmiri writer Arif Ayaz Parrey said the ban showed “the Indian government has decided to take on the collective subversive wisdom of cyberspace humanity.”

https://www.facebook.com/arifayaz.parrey/posts/1400382050032362

An international journalists’ rights group urged Indian authorities to immediately revoke the “sweeping censorship of social media,” saying it “will bring neither peace nor order” in the region.

Kashmiris have been uploading videos and photos of alleged abuse for some years, but several recently posted clips, captured in the days surrounding a violence-plagued local election on April 9, have proven to be especially powerful and have helped to intensify anti-India protests.

Protests and clashes are an almost daily occurrence along the Kashmir border, where the military forces from both nations try to hold the other responsible for insurgence. Disputes over control of the Kashmir region, claimed by both India and Pakistan, have sparked two wars between the nations since 1947.

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Nikki Haley wont run, if Trump runs in 2024

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If Trump Runs In 2024, Haley Says She Will Not | Diya TV News

SOUTH CAROLINA (Diya TV) — Former US Ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says she will not make a run for the White House in 2024. But that’s only if Donald Trump decides to enter the Presidential race. Haley continues to be mentioned as a potential candidate for the Oval Office, but the Indian American’s public comments are being interpreted as an early endorsement for former President if Trump chooses to run again.

And more positive news for India’s economy. The International Monetary Fund says it’s projecting a 12 and half percent growth rate for the South Asian nation in 2021. That’s even stronger than what’s expected for China and America’s economy this year.

India is going through a historic tech boom for unicorn start ups. These are the companies valued at more than a billion dollars. In a span of four days, the country saw 6 tech unicorns emerge onto the scene. Startups like Groww, Gutshup, API Holdings, Mohalla Tech, Meesho, and Cred all reached valuations of a billion dollars or more. And that’s attracting some of the world’s largest investors like Softbank and Tiger Global.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian American couple dead in apparent murder-suicide

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Indian American Couple Dead In Apparent Murder-suicide | Diya TV News

 North Arlington, NEW JERSEY (Diya TV) — Authorities in New Jersey are investigating a possible murder-suicide, saying Balaji Rudrawar stabbed his wife Aarti to death. Both were found dead in their home with multiple stab wounds. Their young daughter was found unharmed inside. The motive remains unclear. The man’s father told an India-based media outlet his daughter in law was 7 months pregnant.

In Indian waters, a US war ship sailed through India’s Exclusive Economic Zone without asking for permission, a violation of that country’s law. Both countries remain partners in the region. Sources with the Indian Navy say the move was more about sending a message to China.

As Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry wraps up his India trip,  he’s taking to social media and personally thanking some of the leaders of that region including Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and now Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen of Bangladesh, saying all the countries involved are committed to address global warming and climate change. Kerry is raising awareness about this issue heading into a climate conference with world leaders later this month. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Muslim advocates sue Facebook over not removing anti-Muslim hate speech

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Muslim Advocates Sue Facebook | Diya TV News

MENLO PARK, Calif. (Diya TV) — Frustrated with what it sees as a lack of progress, a group called Muslim advocates, along with law firm Gupta Wessler, is suing Facebook, claiming the social media giant does not consistently remove all hate speech, especially language that targets followers of Islam.  The group is calling out top executives like Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, demanding the social network start taking anti-Muslim activity more seriously. A Facebook spokesperson says it regularly uses artificial intelligence to remove posts that violate its policies.

“Hugs are back.” That’s what US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is saying after seeing an increase in Covid-19 vaccinations all across the nation. Murthy says more and more Americans are becoming comfortable getting vaccinated. And by April 19th, all adults will be eligible for the vaccine. The Indian American doctor says this trend is encouraging, but also says there is still lots of work that needs to be done about battling disinformation.

And a big blow to Indian filmmakers.  The Federal government is cutting the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, which allowed filmmakers to appeal decisions made by the censors, which has the power and authority to ban certain movies for inappropriate content.  Instead, they will now have to go to lawyer up and go straight to court and fight if they disagree.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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