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Kashmir demilitarisation starts in cyber world

Haroon Mirani

Srinagar, September 29, 2007:

After holding the domain www.kashmir.com for over 10 years, the Indian Army has now put it on sale.

The domain is available for bidding on www.sedo.com, with a minimum bid value of USD 10,000.

According to the registrant details of the domain, the Indian Defence Ministry had registered the domain in July 1997, and renewed it each year since then.

Until recently the administrative contact shown for the domain was Lt. Gen. Sarabjit Singh Dhillon, former corps commander of the Srinagar based 15 Corps of Indian Army.

The records show that the Defence Ministry renewed it recently and they hold its registration up to June 2008.

The administrant records have been changed after it was put up on sale at sedo.com.

However the army had never set up a website on the domain surprising many web watchers.

Analysts say the domain was occupied as part of Indo-Pak information war on Kashmir.

In mid-nineties India and Pakistan began an information war on Kashmir in the cyber world, flashing their viewpoints on websites and at times hacking strategic websites of each other.

While kashmir.com could have been a highly potent tool for projecting its viewpoint or propaganda, the army only chose to keep it occupied without any content.

“It is hi-tech warfare. A domain like kashmir.com can be the first stop for people interested in information on Kashmir,” says a web specialist in Srinagar wishing not to be named.

“Although the army has not put its propaganda, but even by occupying the domain it has ensured that any Pakistani or Kashmiri nationalistic group does not use the domain.”

Although the registrant details of kashmir.com clearly show GOC 15 Corps, Badamibagh, Srinagar as the administrative contact, the defence spokesman in Srinagar said, he had no information about the domain.

Interestingly another domain owned by the Indian Army, armyinkashmir.com is also on sale.

The website has been the main publicity portal of the Indian army, with data related to insurgency in Kashmir from the army perspective.

It detailed number of encounters, insurgents killed and the details about army’s welfare programme in Kashmir called the operation Sadbhavana.

It was launched by Indian Ministry of Defence with much hype in August 1998, as a tool for countering what they called the Pakistani misinformation campaign on Kashmir.

The website was also hacked allegedly by Pakistan based hackers in 1999. The hackers posted pictures of army killings in Kashmir, with captions like 'Massacre,' Torture,' 'Extrajudicial execution' and 'The agony of crackdown' and blamed the Indian government for its atrocities in Kashmir.

One of the reasons analysts say for not setting up a website on kashmir.com by the army was the fear of hacking, as it would have been one of the most targeted website due to its political connotations.

Business potential

Kashmir.com has a huge business potential.

“Owing to its name and with entire South Asian politics revolving around Kashmir, this website can generate millions of hits daily, provided its owners develop it,” says Wajahat Ahmad an IT analyst.

The selling of kashmir.com can generate a lot of interest in the subcontinent.

“There are at least four major players willing to purchase the website,” points the analysts. “There are Indians, Pakistanis, Kashmiris and overseas Kashmiri groups, all would vie for the website.”

The bid rates for kashmir.com are expected to rise sharply in coming days. (Kashmir Newz)

Related links

Army officially takes over Kashmir.com

Real owner of Kashmir.com



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Click here to read this story. For reproduction rights contact Kashmir Newz Desk

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