After a four-month internet blackout, Kashmir’s people WhatsApp accounts are being automatically deactivated because of India’s continued subjugation. Reports emerged that WhatsApp users in Kashmir were being kicked off the app for being inactive for too long.
WhatsApp has a policy that if a user is inactive on the applications for over 120 days, their account is deleted.
“To maintain security and limit data retention, WhatsApp accounts generally expire after 120 days of inactivity,” a spokesperson for Facebook said. He further added “When that happens, those accounts automatically exit their WhatsApp groups. People will need to be re-added to groups upon regaining access to the Internet and joining WhatsApp again.”
Losing Loved Ones Virtually
Various people expressed their grief about this on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. They shared stories of how their loved ones could not be seen on WhatsApp anymore.
One user wrote in an emotional post “Every day since the
curfew in Kashmir, I used to wake up and read conversations on WhatsApp with my
parents. Today, as I woke up, they both had left the group as their account was
deleted. It has like salt has been added to my wounds.”
Furthermore, a journalist from Kashmir who worked for an online portal called “Free Press Kashmir “was taken aback when he checked the WhatsApp group for this portal. “All my colleagues had left the WhatsApp group,” he said.
Continued Oppression of Kashmir’s people
The Kashmir Valley has been reeling under an unprecedented internet gag for the past four months after the government of India repealed Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories on August 5.
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While users around the world react to Kashmiri users being kicked off the platform, Indian officials are maintaining that the Internet was being used for radicalization purposed in Kashmir. Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said social media and the internet had been used to radicalize people.
This is just one of the many adversities being faced head on by the Kashmiri people. In comparison to the other human rights violations, this is just a minute “sanction”. This is the longest curfew faced by the Kashmiri people in history.