Why Have People Using VPNs in J&K Been Booked Under UAPA?

The UAPA has been invoked against citizens for using VPNs to access social media in J&K. Isn’t that a bit too much?

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Is using a VPN an act of terror? In Jammu and Kashmir, where social media has been banned since 5 August 2019, apparently it’s the same.

The J&K police has booked around 200 people in Kashmir for terrorism after they used VPNs to go online and share things on social media. In case you didn’t know, a VPN or a Virtual Private Network is used to bypass firewalls and access blocked websites.

If that last bit went over your head, let me quickly explain what it means. Some citizens used apps to bypass the govt’s firewall and access social media in Kashmir.

For this, the police has registered FIRs against people under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act OR UAPA, and Section 66A of the Information Technology Act (which was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2015).

(We’re joined today by Apar Gupta, Executive Director, Internet Freedom Foundation, senior journalist from Jammu and Kashmir Ahmed Ali Fayyaz and The Quint’s Legal Editor Vakasha Sachdev.)

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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