The Kashmir Valley has been reeling under internet disruption since last August when the Indian government abrogated the special status of Jammu & Kashmir and enforced an unprecedented lockdown, including the digital siege.
Mohd Aasif | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — On the Independence Day of India on Saturday, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort, a Mughal era monument, in the morning, the Kashmir valley faced internet shutdown for over five hours restricting the ability of the people to communicate.
Locals told Clarion India that mobile internet services, which are already limited to 2G speed, were suspended at around 7 in the morning and were restored at 12:30 PM. “I was trying to access his social media account in the morning but found that the mobile internet services were down,” a student from Srinagar said.
People complained they faced difficulties as they were unable to access internet. “When I woke up in the morning I wanted to send wishes to my Indian friends and thought they would not shut internet services but they did even in the absence of Article 370,” said Nasir Khuehami, a student leader in Kashmir. “What has changed in Kashmir? Nothing.”
The region has been reeling under internet disruption since last August when the Indian government abrogated the special status of Jammu & Kashmir and enforced an unprecedented lockdown, including the digital siege.
In March, internet service was restored in the area with limited access with the speed of 2G on the direction of Supreme Court. The services remained totally shut since August 2019.
While 5G internet connectivity is about to become available in the whole world, including India, Kashmir has been relegated to 2G or second generation. While a 2G connection gives a speed of 14-64 kbps, 4G can offer a speed between 100mbps and 1Gbps.
While 2G internet was restored a few months ago, the slow speed has posed a challenge for healthcare professionals in the time of the COVID-19 crisis, not to speak of students struggling to keep up with online classes and businesses that need proper internet connections for their daily work.
The government argues that 4G speeds cannot be restored for “security reasons”.
Meanwhile shops were locked and transport was off the roads as paramilitary and police presence was increased.