The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has ordered The Caravan magazine to take down from its website within 24 hours an article about civilian deaths in Jammu and Kashmir allegedly in Army custody , the publication said on Tuesday.
The ministry issued the order under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, The Caravan said. The provision allows the Centre to issue content-blocking orders to online intermediaries if the content is deemed a threat to national security, sovereignty or public order.
The article titled “Screams from the Army Post”, published on February 1, is about the alleged deaths of three civilians and the torture of several others while in Army custody in Jammu and Kashmir on December 22.
The Caravan said in a social media post that it will challenge the ministry’s order.
On December 22, three civilians were found dead in Poonch, near the site of a suspected militant attack the previous day that killed four soldiers. The civilians were part of a group of persons allegedly taken into custody by the Army for questioning about the attack.
A first information report in connection with the deaths of the three civilians and injuries to others was filed on January 22 at the Surankote police station in Poonch under Indian Penal Code sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder).
The case was registered after a 29-second video, purportedly showing soldiers stripping the three men and sprinkling red chilli powder on them, was shared on social media.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had acknowledged the deaths in a social media post, but did not provide an explanation for how they occurred.
The Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry to investigate the circumstances that led to the deaths of the civilians.
The attack on an Army convoy on December 21 resulted in the deaths of four soldiers identified as Naik Birender Singh, Naik Karan Kumar, Rifleman Gautam Kumar and Rifleman Chandan Kumar.