Social media ban in Kashmir has entered its fouth week, and the government seems to be in no mood to revoke it.
The social media websites are lifelines for Kashmiris and the ban has severely affected students, employees, patients, journalists as well as others but the ban has also ensured people find innovative ways to overcome the impact of the ban.
Zeyan Shafiq, a 16-year-old boy from Anantnag district of Kashmir division finished his 10th standard exams few months prior to the social media ban. A software enthusiast and son of a businessman father and govt servant mother, Zeyan started working on developing Valley owns social networking website and launched it within a week following social media ban on May 2nd, 2017.
The website, KashBook, giving a Kashmiri touch to the name also, within a week has attracted more than one thousand people who signed up for the website and are satisfied with its features.
Zeyan was just 11 when he started learning HTML tags by himself and later learned C++ and Java.
The 16-year-old along with his 19-year-old friend Uzair Jan from Srinagar has also developed a mobile optimised website as well as an android app, which has been downloaded by hundreds of people since its launch.
“On the portal, you can add people and chat with them, post messages along with many features which one finds in other social media websites. There is also a market for buying and selling,” Zeyan told TCN.
An important highlight of this website is that it also has an option for communicating in the Kashmiri language.
Explaining the reason behind starting the website, Zeyan said, “The government has blocked access to all the social networks and they are blocking VPNs too. So, when they’ll block the whole access to social media then how will people from valley stay connected with each other? KashBook is the answer to social media gag.”
After the social media ban, many people turned to use of virtual private network (VPN) in order to defy the ban and access different social media websites which were banned by the state government.
Through this website, Zeyan says, he will focus and promote goods and services made in Kashmir.
“Besides, many young people can learn from this initiative and take this as a challenge and invent and develop new things which can serve as tools for betterment of Kashmir and Kashmiris,” he explains.
The team of two boys since its launch has been actively helping the users who either aren’t satisfied or facing problems via emails and social handles.
“We offer them full support and help until their issue is resolved,” says Zeyan.
Both the young website developers are looking forward to ensure website efficiency and pursue a career in computer engineering.
Pertinently, the PDP-led state government on Wednesday, April 26 had issued an order to ban all social media in Kashmir for a period of one month. The ban includes Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, QQ, WeChat, Ozone, Tumblr, Google+, Baidu, Skype, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Pinterest, Telegram and Reditt.
In the social media ban order, the government said that the continued misuse of social networking sites and instant messaging services are detrimental to the interests of peace in the state.