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 The internet services on all platforms was suspended on August 5, when the central government repealed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (Article 370) and bifurcated the erstwhile State in two Union Territories—Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.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)

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