Indian bloggers angry over blocking of sites after Mumbai blasts

NEW DELHI, July 19, 2006 (AFP) – Indian Internet users, angry at being denied access to popular weblogs, lashed out at the government on Wednesday for banning some websites in the wake of last week’s Mumbai train bombings. There are nearly 38 million Internet users among the 1.1 billion population. “India has clearly joined the Internet Filtering Club of China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Ethiopia,” wrote professional blogger Amit Agarwal on his website, Digital Inspiration.

“If the access to restricted websites is not restored in a day or two, this issue is sure to gather active momentum in the Western blogosphere.”

Amit Varma on his India Uncut website added: “I hope it’s just a kneejerk reaction by some clueless babu (bureaucrat) that is soon corrected. I hope we don’t go the China way.”

The government has not given an official reason for the ban.

But the media quoted unnamed officials as saying it was meant to check websites spreading hate messages after the bombings killed more than 180 people on July 11.

A government official said only two websites had been blocked.

“I have seen the government order. Only two webblogs — pyjamaeditors.blogspot.com and exposingtheleft.blogspot.com have been been