Amid social media ban in Kashmir, 16-year-old develops ‘KashBook’

Amid social media ban in Kashmir, 16-year-old develops ‘KashBook’

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SRINAGAR: Weeks after Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government imposed ban on social media websites in the valley, a 16-year-old boy developed an app to keep the locals connected.

Zeyan Shafiq, who recently passed his class 10th exams, along with his 19-year-old friend Uzair Jan has developed KashBook in 2013. But after social media ban in the valley they decided to relaunch the website as app on May 2, 2017.

The website, KashBook, giving a Kashmiri touch to the name also, within a week has attracted over thousand people who signed up for the website and are satisfied with its features.

An important highlight of this website is that it also has an option for communicating in the Kashmiri language.

Zeyan was just 11 when he started learning HTML tags by himself and later learned C++ and Java.

“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,” Zeyan said.

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 said.

On April 26, the state government 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.