A circular mandating the registration of “WhatsApp news groups” in Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir, was issued by the District Magistrate on Tuesday. All administrators of such groups need to have their group registered within 10 days, the circular said. Such groups will now be monitored, and their admins will be held responsible for any “irresponsible remarks leading to untoward incidents”, it added, further instructing government employees in the district to refrain from commenting on the new rule.
The move comes amid protests in the district following reports that a minor girl was molested by two local men. One of the accused was arrested earlier. Five people have been killed in firing by security forces during the protests, and temporary bans were placed on mobile internet services in the area. The announcement also comes after WhatsApp launched an encryption service that allows only those sending or receiving a text to read the message.