Srinagar: While terming the restoration of 4G internet as helpful for student community, Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) said on Saturday that the government could have shown a small courtesy by announcing its restoration with a small apology.
The association said that when a small road is dug or there is interruption in TV services, even the contractor or operator says ‘sorry for inconvenience’ but here, high speed internet service was cut off for 18 months for millions of people and there was not even a murmur or sadness in their words.
“The 4G internet will definitely help our students who have been at a huge disadvantage over the last so many months. It was kind of a collective punishment to us for no fault and it pushed us years back,” said G N Var president PSAJK. “Our schools suffered, other educational institutes suffered as no one could work at its optimum.”
The association said that like the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) it had been at the forefront of legal battle to restore 4G internet and the hearing with regards to its petition in Supreme Court was due next week. “The government pre-empted the hearing because on what basis could have they again banned it. On one hand they say the situation is normal and on other hand the reason for the 4G ban was that the situation is not normal in Kashmir,” Var said.
The association also demanded compensation for the loss caused due to internet blockade. “One cannot undo the huge psychological and academic loss caused by 18 months of internet ban. But another aspect of it was financial loss which the government should consider for compensating,” said Var. “Thousands of jobs were lost due to internet blocking. Thousands of opportunities for our students vanished in thin air. The expenses of our schools doubled and productivity plunged due to the situation.”
The Association said that the internet has become a fundamental right and the government should ensure its non-stop working in a transparent manner. “It shouldn’t be that tomorrow 4G will be blocked again in accordance with the whims and wishes of some officers. We appeal the government to put in some foolproof mechanism to regulate internet services. It causes immense loss to us. There should be application of mind and priority should be continuance of this fundamental right and not its blockade,” he said.
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