Internet Shutdowns A Reminder Of August 2019: Tarigami

Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami | KO File Photo

Srinagar- CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Saturday said that the Jammu and Kashmir administration's decision to shut down the internet sporadically in several parts of Kashmir has brought back "painful memories" of the communication blockade of August 2019 that was lifted the following year.

The four-time legislator said the curbs on 4G internet in Kashmir are "contrary to government claims of creating opportunities" for all citizens by harnessing digital technologies through the Digital India initiative.

Tarigami, in a statement, said that the shutdown has “hugely impacted students, who are not able to attend their online classes as the internet remains shutdown during day hours.”

He said people, including businessmen, doctors, media personnel and other professionals, are also suffering immensely due to sporadic shutdown of internet services. “It is high time that internet services are restored throughout Kashmir without any further delay,” he demanded.

Internet access in several parts of Srinagar, particularly in the city’s downtown areas, and parts of southern Kashmir have remained shut for most part of the day, particularly during the late evening hours, beginning last month when a series of target killings by suspected militants caused panic in the administration.

Senior administration officials confirmed that the internet shutdown – which remain unaccounted for, in violation of Supreme Court directives – was indeed in response to the killings. Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Pandurang K. Pole, had told Kashmir Observer that internet was being shut because militants used it during evening hours.

“The killings in Srinagar occurred during evening hours. It was also found that some apps were used in these areas by the militants,” Pole said. “So as a precautionary measure we restricted the internet during non-online class hours i.e. from 3 PM onwards.”

Meanwhile, Tarigami said that the fresh communication blockade was worsening the situation in Kashmir. "The 2019 communication blockade led to huge economic losses and unemployment and cost the Kashmiri economy thousands of crores while thousands of people lost their livelihood," he said. “The latest curbs on the internet are bound to aggravate the situation.” (With Inputs from PTI)

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