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Internet, mobiles blocked over film protests

Services suspended amid fears of violence

Ritu Sharma, New Delhi

September 21, 2012

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The Home Ministry departments of Jammu and Kashmir states today suspended internet and mobile phone services for fear that protests over an anti-Islam film could cause violence in the area. The order was issued last night to all licensed telecom and internet service providers to make arrangements “to ensure that their subscribers in the state should not be able to download or upload the contents with regard to the video,” referring to portions of the film Innocence of Muslims that have appeared on the video-sharing site YouTube. Violent protests have broken out across the region since the clips first appeared online last week. Security forces are on alert in Kashmir. “There is a curfew-like situation,” S. Khan, a Kashmir-based journalist, told prior to the suspension of mobile phone service. Schools and colleges have also reportedly been closed as a precautionary measure. The tightening of security followed a call by separatist leader Ahmed Sha Geelani for protests after Friday prayers. Police last week had put Geelani under preventative custody to maintain law and order as protests against the film gained momentum. Protesters last week gathered outside mosques and shrines in Kashmir shouting slogans against the filmmaker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Protests in Chennai resulted in the arrest of 80 people for attacking the US consulate, which closed for three days earlier this week. Meanwhile, security has also been stepped up at the US embassy in New Delhi as well as at consulates and other diplomatic interests in other Indian cities, police have said. Related reports Religious leaders urge restraint over film

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