Government bans social media, Kashmiri teen develops 'KashBook'

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Weeks after the government imposed a ban on social media in the Kashmir valley, a teenager has created an alternate social networking. In defiance of the ban, Zeyan Shafiq, an enthusiastic 16-year-old, has come up with KashBook, a valley specific social networking site.

Kashmir teen's 'KashBook'

Kashmir teen's 'KashBook'

Shafiq, a resident of Anantnag, developed and launched the social networking platform within a week after the government banned 22 social media services including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. The young software enthusiast completed his class 10 exams recently. Along with his friend, 19-year-old Uzair Jan, Zeyan Shafiq came up with 'KashBook'.

App has more than a thousand users

App has more than a thousand users

The app was first launched in 2013 but was relaunched by Shafiq after the ban imposed by the government. Shafiq has told media outlets that within days of its re-launch the app and site has more than 1,000 users who are satisfied with its features. "The government has blocked access to all the social networks and they are blocking VPNs too. If they block complete access to social media, how will people from valley stay connected? KashBook is the answer to social media gag," Shafiq said.

KashBook on App Store and Google Play store

KashBook on App Store and Google Play store

Shafiq and Uzair Jan developed a mobile optimised website and mobile apps for Google Play store and App Store. The duo aims to pursue computer engineering in the future. People of Kashmir defied the ban and accessed these blocked websites by using a virtual private network. But these teens claim that their app does not require a VPN. The teens claimed that through the app, they will focus and promote goods and services made in Kashmir and hope that 'their effort inspires others to invent and develop new things which can serve as tools for the betterment of Kashmir and Kashmiris'.

The 16-year-old's software journey

The 16-year-old's software journey

According to reports in Kashmir media, Shafiq started learning HTML tags by himself at the age of 11. He also tried his hand on computer languages such as C++ and Java. "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 the media.

Teens defy ban

Teens defy ban

The Kashmir government imposed a ban on social networking and mass messaging sites on April 26. The ban was imposed for a period of one month after the government concluded that social media was being misused by 'anti-government elements'. The developers claim that the site does not need a VPN and allows usage of Kashmiri language for communication.

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