Press Trust of india

ST status to Paharis: Mobile internet service suspended in Poonch-Rajouri

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Jammu:  Amid resentment among a section of Gujjar-Bakerwal community over grant of ST status to Pahari community in Jammu and Kashmir, authorities on Wednesday imposed prohibitory orders in Jammu while security was beefed up in the twin districts of Rajouri and Poonch.

The mobile internet service and public Wi-Fi facilities were also temporarily suspended in Rajouri and Poonch as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order, officials said.

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which seeks to add four communities — Gadda Brahmin, Koli, Paddari Tribe, and Pahari Ethnic Group — to the list of Scheduled Tribes in Jammu and Kashmir.

In an order issued here this evening, Jammu district magistrate Sachin Kumar Vaishya ordered immediate imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that prohibits gathering of four or more people.

“Whereas, it has been made to appear to me by the inputs received from police authorities and also otherwise, that there is a likelihood of serious breach of peace and order and disturbance of public tranquillity which might cause grave danger to human lives and properties because of the disinformation that is being spread on social media platforms by posting/ sharing of derogatory, discriminatory and provocative messages.

“Whereas, it is desirable that any breach of peace and order and disturbance of public tranquillity which might cause grave danger to human lives and properties should be immediately prevented,” the order read.

Exercising his powers, Vaishya prohibits individuals and social media platforms and portals operating in the district from posting or sharing any such post or message that has the potential to disturb the communal harmony, cause breach of peace and disturbance of public tranquillity.

“The order shall come into force with immediate effect and any violation of this order shall invite punitive action under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code,” the order said.

While the Pahari community welcomed the Central government’s decision to grant the community Scheduled Tribe status, a section of the Gujjars and Bakerwals have expressed their resentment against the move, claiming that the Paharis are not scheduled tribes.

Security has been beefed up in both Rajouri and Poonch districts having major concentration of Gujjars and Bakerwals besides Paharis to maintain law and order, the officials said.

In an order, the Home Department announced temporary suspension of telecom services in the two districts.

“Whereas, the ADGP (additional director general of Police), Jammu Zone, being the authorized officer under the temporary suspension of telecom services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, has issued directions to the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs)/Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to suspend mobile data (2G/3G/4G/5G & Public Wi-Fi facilities 5G) in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu Province w.e.f 07.02.2024 (0010 hours) to 07.02.2024 (2330 hours),” the order said.

The order highlighted the possibility of mobile data (2G/3G/4G/5G & Public Wi-Fi facility 5G) services to be misused by anti-national elements or miscreants, which may cause deterioration in public order.


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