In the wake of reported shooting up of terror and hate messages on the Internet following the deadly Mumbai serial blasts, the telecom department has directed all the 150 operational Internet Service Providers to block 18 Web sites.
The 18 Web sites, according to the government, could be used by terror groups to communicate and spread provocative messages.
Two Web sites www.dalitstan.org and hinduunity.org figure among the blocked sites. It is not immediately clear till what time period this blockade will be in force. Although DoT and Department of Information Technology officials declined to comment on the issue in which DoT issued notices to ISPs, Deepak Maheshwari, secretary, Internet Service Providers Association of India said the association has received the instructions from the government.
"The instructions have been received from the government and the sites have been blocked accordingly," Maheshwari said. Meanwhile the software industry has flayed the decision to block the sites. "The Centre's decision to block some blogs and Web sites in the wake of last week's serial blasts in Mumbai was "neither desirable nor feasible," Nasscom president Kiran Karnik said in Chennai on Tuesday. "The Internet should be a free media. Any attempts to block out some Web sites is not desirable. "If you stop the media, rumours float very fast and it is not desirable," he said.
When contacted, officials of Yahoo.com told PTI that they have not received any communication in this regard from the government or any of its agency.
Although the purpose behind the censorship, is not clear, DoT usually sends such notices of blocking sites only when it finds objectionable, anti-national content or anything against public interest on these Web sites.
The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under the Department of Information Technology, which supervises cyber security, reports on the presence of Web sites or content that is anti-national or against public interest to DoT which then issues a notice to all ISPs.
Over the past six years, DoT has blocked more than 100 Web sites.
It is for the first time that such a large number of Web sites have been blocked in one go. Usually, the DOT blocks one or two sites.