Hyderabad: Desperate times call for desperate measures as “love birds” in the Kashmir valley will surely agree. For much-in-love young Kashmiri couples, who may have nothing to do with the endless cycle of violence and terror attacks in the valley over the last decade, romance has always blossomed over instant messaging apps as meeting out in the open is something not many in the valley are still comfortable with.
All that romancing over the apps came to a grinding halt on August 5, 2019 — day the Centre abrogated Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and shut down the internet. Romantic relationships were badly hit in a place ranked as the second most romantic destination in the world.
However, a way was found round the internet shut down — VPN of Virtual Private Network. This is illegal as it is allegedly often used to propagate secessionist ideology and glorify terror acts and terrorists.
J&K police have launched a crackdown against Kashmiris who are accessing the internet in this manner, but they have found several dozens of instances wherein Kashmiri couples in romantic relationships are increasingly downloading VPN just to rekindle their romance.
So far, FIRs have been lodged against 200 Kashmiris for accessing social media through VPN. Highly placed sources in J&K police told Deccan Chronicle over the telephone that over the last fortnight, they have come across more than three dozen instances of young Kashmiri boys downloading VPN just to speak to their partners, most of whom complained of depression as they have lost touch with their lovers since August 5.
Policemen have been randomly checking mobile phones of youngsters across different localities in the valley to see whether they had VPN on their handsets, and many were caught chatting with their girlfriends and sharing photos.
“There have been several instances wherein youngsters were caught with VPN on their handsets. They pleaded with us so spare them saying they downloaded VPN only to talk to their partners,” a police official disclosed....