Choking Internet In Kashmir: A Scourge

The world of today is altogether in contradiction to the times of the previous ages. Technology has taken the global order by a major revolutionary storm and made the world a knowledge driven global network. Internet is the constitutive element of the current times, sans which life seems to be a dead wood and bereft of technological assimilation.

Over the world, there are today a multitude of problems and a plethora of issues which really pose a serious and a grave challenge to the peace and order of the societies. Kashmir is not an exception. Every other day, the situation here takes a u-turn and poses a serious challenge for the system to contain the problems at hand.

Since, the eruption of Amarnath land row, through the tumultuous phases of 2010 and 2016 till date, the situation has achieved great uncertain proportions and reflect the growing tendencies of political waywardness in Kashmir. Whether we call it destiny, maneuvering or inroads of tragic phases of political uncertainty, the situations are of enormous gravity as of now.

Internet is the major requirement of the masses all over the world, particularly for the students and business fraternity in the contemporary times. When a cordon and search operation (CASO) is undertaken in the valley by the security agencies during anti-militancy operations, the major thrust of the government is driven towards the choking and muzzling of internet space in Kashmir. In a place dogged with an overridden unhealthy political atmosphere with a restive nature, one cannot expect a peaceful scenario on the day-to-day basis.

Although banks suffer during frequent internet gags, the plight of their customers is often overshadowed by the bigger political crisis in Kashmir. What’s clear is that disrupted banking, fee payments, purchases and withdrawals, all severely cripple the everyday life of Kashmiris.

The constitution of India as a guiding principle of rights and duties guarantees right to freedom of expression to the citizens of the country. People in Kashmir voice their dissent over the social media once an unfortunate and gory episode recurs in Vale. The gagging and censuring of media and internet in Kashmir has become a new normal in Kashmir. By denying the people, particularly students, the access to information regarding the day-today happenings and information influx, the government is in fact committing a major wrong in Kashmir.

The policy of net gagging in Kashmir might serve as a deterrent in the short term to keep the situation under control in tense Kashmir, but the aftershocks of the situations cannot and should not be overlooked. This is an illogical and irrational step with far reaching consequences. Since, 2008, Kashmir has been witness to internet blockades, e-curfews and blocking of Pakistani channels at the behest of the government. Situations have arisen and gone, but the scars of the tragic episodes are there and every day the social media is abuzz with the narratives of the gory tales of the masses which the people have undergone in the long run.

It is a bizarre fact that a coin has two sides. Likewise, Net usage has rights and wrongs associated with it. Internet is the major requirement of people as of now. By choking the net space in Kashmir day-in and out, the government is doing wrong and it may resurface as backlash in the long run.

Instead of taking recourse to banning channels and choking net space in Kashmir, the major thrust of the government should be to take route towards betterment of good governance in J&K and dialogue with all the stakeholders which will serve as a trigger to better the fragile  situation in Kashmir which has unfortunately manifested into a dynamic malignancy and snatched the peace and order from  the people’s lives, with a potential disorder and chaos looming large over the Asian sub-continent.

Since ceasefire to current political crisis, all is not well in Kashmir and the situations are turning from bad to worse with the passage of time. Today, the alienation among the masses is much deeper than it was in the previous years.

What is therefore required is a broad strategy by the government in the current times to create a consensus and environment for dialogue on the Kashmir issue and restore the faith of people in the political order for the sake of peace which every Kashmiri is yearning for. There cannot be something divine intervention so far as issue at stake is concerned; rather a strong political will to better the situation in Kashmir is the need of the hour.

Being in New Delhi for over four years  (2011 to 2014) as a student, I never have observed the media gag and net being muzzled in mainland India.. Why only in Kashmir? This question haunts my mind.

By resorting to media gag and muzzling of net, the government is charting a wrong course in contravention to the good governance principles which only dents the compassionate mainstreaming of the masses and cements impression of otherness within the psyche of the people. The government in J&K and at New Delhi ought to understand the gravity of current political instability. Today’s media gag will never serve the purpose. After all it is the question of collective pain and unified political approach within the purview of logical approach of political dealing.

Today Kashmir is in search of dialogue and reconciliation and that is the sine-qua-non condition to rectify the errors and solidify the peace. Kashmir through decades of political machinations and dilly dallying has been alienated with people feeling chocked and pushed to wall.

The deft handling after understanding the macroscopic dimensions of the Kashmir problem, people’s suffering, oppressive tactics and substitution with an ethic of care and concern within the purview of humane approach and good governance can act as a best remedy to the political ailment and its remedy thereof.

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