Internet gag surpasses all previous records in Kashmir

Services restored in Kargil; Cry for restoration of facility goes loud in Kashmir

The ongoing internet gag that started on August 5 this year has surpassed all previous records and is considered as the longest ever internet gag across the country. The internet services on all platforms was suspended on August 5, when the central government repealed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (Article 370) and bifurcated the erstwhile State in two Union Territories—Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

According to the wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the Valley witnessed internet gag in the year for 240 hours while the ongoing internet suspension continued for 3480 hours now.

The Valley has witnessed frequent internet shutdown in the past. Soon after the situation was deteriorated or authorities had apprehensions of law and order situation, the internet was being suspended in the Valley.

However, it is for the first time that Kashmir witnessed internet gag for 145 days. The government spokesman Rohit Kansal had stated that the services were suspended to curb the provocations from across the Line of Control.

The Lieutenant Governor, Jammu and Kashmir, Girish Chandra Murmu has recently stated that the situation across Kashmir has improved since August 5, adding that internet services will be restored in the Valley soon after the situation improves a bit more.

A top leader from ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also stated that the internet services will be restored in phased manner.

The suspension of internet services sparked protests in the Valley with journalists, YouTubers and businessmen hitting the streets, demanding immediate restoration of internet services.

It has been learnt that the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, who recently chaired a security review meeting of Jammu and Kashmir has also discussed the restoration of internet services in the Valley.

Pertinently, the government has established internet kiosks across Kashmir for students, traders and others at different places. The government has also established a Media Facilitation Centre (MFC) for Valley scribes.

It is worth to mention here that the ongoing internet gag has caused huge losses to the people in Kashmir especially to the students and traders. The traders including the tourism players of the Valley as per KNO suffered unimaginable losses due to the continuous internet suspension across Kashmir. Many of the youth including entrepreneurs, delivery boys and others have lost their jobs, rendering them jobless.

According to the Cellular Operators Association of India, an amalgam of GSM mobile players, the overall telecom industry in Kashmir suffers daily losses of Rs two crore when calling and data services are suspended.

A recent study by International Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), a Delhi-based think-tank, reveals that frequent suspension of internet services has dealt a body blow to Kashmir’s fragile economy resulting in losses worth almost Rs 4000 crores since 2013.

Officials said that it is for the first time that the Valley has been witnessing such a prolonged internet gag. He informed that in the past, the Valley has witnessed internet gag for just 240 hours in the year 2016 when Kashmir witnessed uprising following the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani.

Meanwhile, after the gap of 145 days, the government restored mobile internet services in Kargil area of Ladakh Union Territory. The restoration of the services has brought relief among the students, traders and other communities in Kargil. (KNO)

Handwara students demand restoration of internet services

A group of students from Handwara town on north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Wednesday demanded that internet facility to them be provided at ADC office Handwara instead of Deputy Commissioner Office.

“We have to wait for almost a week to get a chance to access internet at the DC’s office. If we have to fill a form or check a mail, how is it possible that we can wait for five or six days,” they told KNS.

The students said they have to travel around 30 kilometres to reach DC Kupwara to access internet ,they said there are few computers installed in the office and they are are not enough.

The students said that they have been crippled for the past more than four months due to the snapping of internet services in Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. “In today’s world when everything is dependent on internet, we have been denied the facility,” they said.

While demanding immediate restoration of internet services in the Valley, the students said, “Till the time internet services are restored fully, we demand that instead of DC’s office, we may be provided the net facility at ADC office in Handwara.”

Additional forces start leaving Kashmir, though slowly.

‘A few Cos that arrived post Aug 5, left Valley on Sunday’

In a significant development, a gradual troop-cut has started in Kashmir with at least four to five companies leaving the Valley, first time after the Centre announced to roll back Article 370 on August 5.

According to the Kashmir News Observer (KNO), at least four to five companies of additional forces which means 4000 to 5000 central armed police force (CAPF) packed their bags and have left from Kashmir in the wake of “improvement in the ground situation.” “ Yes, four to five additional companies of forces have left Kashmir on Sunday. Whether more would leave, there are no clear cut directions,” a top security expert told KNO.

He said that 20 companies of additional forces that were deployed in various parts of Kashmir are likely to be taken out of Kashmir. “Of them, 16 are from BSF and four CRPF.”

The officer said decision about the withdrawal of more companies from Kashmir would be taken in a phased manner, depending on the overall situation on ground zero. The valley has seen unprecedented tension following the scrapping of state’s special status but luckily for the forces it did not boil into massive protests, contrary to the expectations of the government and the reports of intelligence agencies. The situation remains volatile but under control, giving opportunity to the government to de-induct some of the forces.

While the forces faced little challenge on the law and order front, they are facing quite a discomfort due to plummeting mercury. The November has been abnormally cold and some jawans complain their accommodations are not properly equipped with heating arrangements.

The central forces have been working in tandem with the local police to maintain law and order post the abrogation of Article 370. The ratio of central forces in handling law and order was much higher as compared to local police. Majority of the central forces that were inducted in Kashmir were from CRPF.

Sources told Kashmir that as and when situation improves further, more companies would leave Kashmir, even though gradually and in a phased-manner after thorough consultations with the other sister security agencies including Police and the Army. (KNO)

Govt orders transfers, postings in administration.

The Jammu and Kashmir government ordered transfers and postings in the administration.

As per the GAD order,

Mohammad Nazir Sheikh, KAS, Director, Panchayati Raj, J&K, is transferred and posted as Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri.

Yasha Mudgal, Additional Resident Commissioner and ex-officio Secretary, Resident Commission, JK House, New Delhi, is transferred and posted as Managing Director, Jammu Power Distribution Corporation Limited.

Mohammad Aijaz, Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri, is transferred and posted as Managing Director, Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited.

SPO recruitment drive gets huge response in Jammu & Kashmir, over 77,000 apply

While 51,047 youths applied for the SPO recruitment in the Jammu region, the number stands at 26,594 in different districts of Kashmir valley, the spokesman said. (GK)

A recruitment drive by the Jammu and Kashmir police to fill about 5,200 posts of Special Police Officers (SPOs) has evoked a huge response as over 77,000 candidates applied, a police spokesman said on Saturday.

While 51,047 youths applied for the SPO recruitment in the Jammu region, the number stands at 26,594 in different districts of Kashmir valley, the spokesman said.

“The recruitment drive has evoked a tremendous response from aspiring youths. A total of 77,641 candidates applied for these (5,199) posts,” he said, adding the physical tests of these candidates have been conducted across the valley and the recruitment process is underway.

In Kashmir zone, 26,594 youths — 15,264 from north Kashmir districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora for 873 posts, 6,013 from central Kashmir districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal for 813 posts and 5,317 from south Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag for 1,243 posts — have applied, he said.

Similarly, the spokesman said 51,047 youths have applied in Jammu zone which included 9,752 applicants for 224 posts in Jammu district and 4,406 youth for 84 posts in Samba district.

In Doda-Kishtwar-Ramban range, 11,909 applications were received against 298 vacant posts, and in Udhampur-Reasi range against 143 vacant posts, 9,573 applications were received, he said.

He said Rajouri-Poonch range also received tremendous response with 15,407 youth trying their luck for 324 SPO posts.

Most of the districts have completed the recruitment process and the sanction for enrolment is given by police headquarters to the district Superintendents of Police, the spokesman said, adding the remaining process would be completed very soon for which directions have been conveyed from the police headquarters. (GK)

Lt. Governor announces special ex-gratia of Rs 30 Lakhs to the NoKs of Sheikh Zahoor Ahmed

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu today announced a special ex-gratia of Rs. 30 lakhs in favour of the Next of Kins (NoKs) of Sheikh Zahoor Ahmed, Junior Agriculture Extension Officer who was killed by the militants while performing his duties during the Back to Village-2 (B2V2) programme in village Hakura, Anantnag on November 26th, 2019.

The Lt. Governor observed that these inhuman and dastardly acts are not going to deter the Government in its resolve to reach out to the people and usher a new era of participatory development.

“We condemn the barbaric act. We pay our rich tributes to the departed souls, who laid down their lives in the call of duty during a special welfare programme of the government under the Mission of Delivering Governance and Development at doorsteps. The noble souls will be in our prayers and thoughts. We express our deepest sympathies with the bereaved families and pray for their courage and fortitude to bear the loss”, the Lt. Governor said.

Pertinently, at the conclusion of the B2V event at Hakura, terrorists had lobbed a grenade and fired indiscriminately in which, Sheikh Zahoor Ahmad and Sarpanch of village Hakura, had sustained injuries in the attack, who later succumbed to their injuries at District hospital Anantnag. Two other Government employees also sustained injuries in the attack.

Meanwhile, the Lt. Governor has directed the Rural Development Department to speedily process the compensation case of the NoKs of the Late Sarpanch, Syed Mohammad Rafi.

The Lt. Governor has further directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to ensure that the two injured employees receive the best medical treatment.

Achieve the target of providing 100 % piped water supply to each household in J&K by ending 2021: Lt. Governor

Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu today directed for achieving the target of providing 100% piped water supply to each household in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir by ending 2021. The Lt. Governor passed these directions while chairing a meeting to review the functioning of PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Department here at Raj Bhavan.

Sh. BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Sh. Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner, Finance; Sh. Bipul Pathak, Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor; Sh. Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Commissioner/Secretary PHE andI&FC; Sh. Pandurang K. Pole, Secretary, Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction; Ms. Avny Lavasa, CEO, J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) and Chief Engineers- PHE and I&FC were among the officers who attended the meeting.
Commissioner/Secretary PHE and I&FC, Ajeet Kumar Sahu , gave a detailed presentation on the functioning of the department and status of various ongoing projects including 100 % piped water supply to each household and Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).

The meeting was informed that the J&K Government has envisaged connecting each and every household with Piped water supply by 2022. The Lt. Governor observed that water is a basic necessity and directed the officers to achieve the set target of providing 100 % piped water supply to each household in J&K by ending 2021.
Calling conservation of water sources as critical, the Lt. Governor called for active participation of Local Bodies and PRIs in water conservation.He also emphasized on convergence of MGNREGA and other Local Bodies’ funds to protect the sources of water. He further underscored the need for capacity building and technical knowhow of the officials to enhance the delivering mechanism of various services.
During the meeting, the Lt. Governor sought a detailed report on River Jhelum Flood Management on which, Commissioner/Secretary PHE informed that works worth Rs 399.29 cr stand completed in Phase-I and Rs 1684 cr DPR has been submitted for the Phase-II.
The Lt. Governor directed the officers to notify the restricted flood prone areas and prepare a comprehensive desilting plan for critical streams and spill channels.
To strengthen the forewarning system of Disaster Management, the Lt. Governor suggested the launching of bulk SMS service during the monsoon season in addition to the dissemination of information through social, print and electronic media. He also underlined the need to integrate flood management norms with building bye laws.

Mobile phones to be restored in Kashmir Valley by Oct 14:- Sources

Govt lifting curbs in phases as situation witnesses betterment

Srgnagar , Oct 11:The Jammu and Kashmir administration is restoring the mobile telephone services in the valley by Monday as the situation continues to witness betterment on ground.

As per the reports, there has already been the decision taken in this regard that the mobile telephone services in Kashmir valley shall be restored in phases and in the very first phase, subscribers from Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts will have their mobile phone services restored to the fullest and there are chances that same will be done by Monday-Oct 14.

Also, as per the reports coming to fore, the postpaid mobile phones will be restored in the first place and after the thorough assessment of the situation, the pre-paid mobile phones will restored after a week. “It is going to be a very peculiar issue and there has been a complete consensus on how to make the situation better on ground and allow people to use communication facilities to the fullest,” says an official.

He added that also in view of the forthcoming block development elections, it is imperative to make the model phones functional so that the official machinery is not exposed to the hardship of any kind as they would discharge their poll duties. “There is a surety that the restoration of the communication will be done on priority from this month. The Governor too has asked the security agencies to review the ground situation and accord people relief on priority and without any further delay,” sources said.

The Cellular Operators Association of India an amalgam of GSM mobile players, had revealed that the overall telecom industry operating in the valley suffers the loss of Rs 2 crores on daily basis when the calling and data services are suspended.

The present communication gag is longest in a decade. “In 2016, internet was suspended in Kashmir for 133 days but V-Sat, landline broadband and lease lines were operational. This time, the case is different at all. There is a complete blackout this time around.

According to a recent study conducted by International Council on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) which states that, “The anatomy of the internet blackout: Measuring the economic impact of internet shutdowns in India has stated in their study that 34 internet shutdowns in the year 2017 caused losses worth 1776 crores to the valley’s economy. The study further revealed that the frequent suspension of the internet services has dealt a body blow to Kashmir’s fragile economy resulting in losses of about 4000 crores since 2013. According to the estimates of study, the present gag is longest ever in the history of globe.
As per the official, second longest internet suspension was witnessed in Darjeeling, West Bengal where internet remained suspended for 100 days from June 18, 2017 to September 25, 2017. “This is for the first time that all means of internet were snapped. The gag this time around is complete and full,” he added.

J&K ​won’t remain a Union Territory forever: Amit Shah

Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah on Monday reaffirmed that Jammu and Kashmir would not remain a Union Territory for forever and it will get back its statehood status once there is a favorable situation for that, ANI reported.

“Jammu and Kashmir would not remain a Union Territory forever and that the statehood would be returned once the situation is normalised,” Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in an official statement quoting Shah.
The Home Minister also said that the notion that only Article 370 protected the Kashmiri culture and identity was a wrong one.

Shah made these remarks while speaking at a function where he met and interacted with the probationers of the 2018 batch of the Indian Police Service (IPS).

The Home Minister touched all aspects and issues including National Register of Citizens (NRC), Abrogation of Article 370 etc.

Speaking on the need for a National Register of Citizens, he asserted that NRC was essential not just for national security but for good governance as well. He remarked that the NRC must not be seen as a political exercise, as it is very important to have a national citizen register in order to ensure that benefits of development reach all our citizens.

He also asked the young probationers to focus on honest performance and added that image is made by not one incident but continuous performance and delivery.

“Maintenance of law and order is very important to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a $5 trillion economy,” The Indian Express quoted Shah as having said.

No tuition, bus fee to be charged from students for closed days: Divisional Commissioner Kashmir

The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan on Monday directed all Deputy Commissioners and Director School Education to ensure that no tuition and bus fee shall be charged from students of government as well as private schools during closed days of August and September months of year 2019.

If any educational institution is found indulging this practice, heavy course of penalty shall be charged besides registration of such educational institution would be cancelled.

He stressed concerned to implement the directions in letter and spirit across the valley. ( Kashmir Life)