“The Indian government has used this shutdown to silence the people and press of Kashmir and limit access to information inside and outside the region,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher.
Jammu and Kashmir lacks basic internet right since August 2019, when Government of India forcefully revoked the special status Article 370 and divided Jammu and Kashmir into 2 union territories (Jammu and Kashmir & Ladakh). All the Political and social leaders including Former Cheif Ministers like Umar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, and one of the young former IAS officer Shah Faesel were detained and many of them are still behind the bars.
Retired NASA Scientist Jim Adams said Kashmir survived without 4G internet for months, with coronavirus, it really needs it. High-speed internet in Jammu and Kashmir is needed now more than ever. With no access to crucial information and guidelines on coronavirus.
As the outbreak of COVID-19 has virtually unified the world to fight spread the deadly infection, Kashmir lags far behind. The ongoing suspension of 4G internet since August 5 last year has come as a major obstacle for doctors and people to access crucial guidelines and medical researches on the virus.
Amnesty India also called for the restoration of 4G Internet services, saying people should have full access to health and safety-related information.
Though the government has restored 2G services in dribs and drabs, connectivity remains a major issue.
Retired NASA Scientist Jim Adam gave the example of Kerala, noting that the Indian state has declared universal internet access a human right and aims to provide it for its 35 million people by this year, but has completely failed when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir.
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Internet ‘Not a Fundamental Right’, J&K Tells SC as Students,
the Jammu and Kashmir administration told the Supreme Court in its 32-page report on Wednesday while filing its detailed reply on a plea seeking the restoration of 4G internet connectivity.
Experts rubbished the government’s reply, which justified the curbs on the pretext that the number of government school students was far less and they didn’t possess a smart mobile phone or computer to access the internet.
“What kind of a logic is this,” fumed Professor Mohammad Aslam. “Have they gone out of their mind?”
Aslam, who headed the Department of English at Kashmir University first and the Central University of Kashmir later, said it was unthinkable to separate technology from education in the contemporary world. The abundance of material available on the internet is simply inaccessible to students in Jammu and Kashmir