Art 370: ‘In Naya Kashmir, People Struggle to Download WhatsApp Image’

The slow internet connection in the valley since last year has affected business, education and communication to the outside world terribly.

ON the day when many in the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) celebrated the August 5, 2019 move to scrap the Jammu and Kashmir’s semiautonomous status as a ‘political milestone in Indian politics’, K-Twitter countered by debating the fallouts of the abrogation in the valley.

“A year has passed and a lot has changed,” netizens debated.

“Schools are still shut, tourism is in the ditches, the economy is in shambles, mental health has taken a toll, the entrepreneurs are hopeless, the fruit sellers have to throw their produce, the handicraft sector is struggling, the online market is devastated and the list goes on. This is how Naya Kashmir looks like.”

On the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, the manned roads were strewn with concertina wires and drop-gates, while a posse of police and paramilitary forces standing in the shade of armoured vehicles enforced the curfew-like-restrictions to “ensure law and order” in the valley.

By imposing restrictions, many netizens claim that the government is hiding its failure and is denying Kashmiris the right to peaceful protest.

“Last year, PM Modi and HM Shah justified the Centre’s move to scrap the Article 370 and 35-A, as they believe they shielded development and fuelled disturbance in the erstwhile state,” a netizen said.

“But if 365 days after the triumphant move, you still need old tactics to run the so-called Naya Kashmir, then what have you achieved on ground, other than fulfilling your party agenda?”

In fact, a year after Government of India promised “massive growth and investments” in the valley, the K-Twitter, which emerged as the vibrant online community over the years, wondered about the prevailing slow internet.

“In the fast pacing world where everything is done with certain clicks on the mobile, Kashmir is still struggling to download an image from WhatsApp,” a netizen observed.

The 2G internet connection in Kashmir has affected business, education and communication to the outside world terribly.

“Throttling the already throttled Internet is called development in Naya Kashmir,” a user wrote.

Many Kashmiri netizens remembered the last year as the day “when the democracy failed them”.

“Last year, this time, we were watching the death of the long lost democracy in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,” a netizen wrote. “I still remember how partial the chairperson was while the members of other parties were delivering their speeches as if the time only existed for them.”

For the day, however, the major feat for the BJP in the valley came from their two Kashmiri women leaders who marked the anniversary of August 5 by hoisting the tricolor in Anantnag and Ganderbal districts of Kashmir.

K-Twitter, however, dismissed their action as a “BJP-led propaganda” in Kashmir.

“The very act portrays a clear picture of BJP lead Propaganda, just to get it covered by Godi Media,” a netizen wrote.

However, as the day was used for the Ayodhya ceremony, many netizens drew parallels with Kashmir’s “Kristallnacht”.

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