Indian government has blocked 32 websites citing national security concerns, as they were allegedly carrying anti-India material from terror groups such as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
“We have blocked some websites, as there were serious national security concerns,” a government official.
The websites that have faced the crackdown include popular video sharing platforms like DailyMotion and Vimeo, while some of them have been allowed to function after removing the objectionable content.
The website were purportedly containing material about Areeb Majid, an alleged ISIS member who was arrested by NIA, and three others hailing from North Karnataka’s Bhatkal area.
Sources said the websites were being used to induce Indian youth to join ISIS and for spreading news about purported death of certain persons while fighting Allied Forces in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.
Another senior official said the crackdown followed an order from Mumbai Court, which was approached by Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) with a plea to block some websites carrying anti-India content.
During its probe into certain terror cases, the ATS had received information that some websites were carrying anti-national content, the official added.
Meanwhile, BJP’s IT Cell National Head Arvind Gupta also said the websites have been blocked on the advice of ATS as they were carrying material from the ISIS.
“The websites that have been blocked were based on an advisory by Anti Terrorism Squad, and were carrying anti-India content from ISIS,” Gupta said in a tweet.
He further said: “The sites that have removed objectionable content and/or cooperated with the ongoing investigations are being unblocked.”
A list of 32 websites, purported to be a Department of Telecom (DoT) circular, also went viral on the micro-blogging site Twitter on Wednesday. While there was no official word from the ministry, sources within the department confirmed existence of such a circular.
Government has been trying to strengthen cyber monitoring in the wake of growing use of Internet and social media by global terror outfits like ISIS to indoctrinate Indian youth.
It has also initiated various efforts to cultivate and nurture experts in the area of information security.