An Open Letter To PM Modi: Kashmir Can’t Fight Terrorism With A Blanket Ban On The Internet

An open letter to PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah asking for the full restoration of internet services across Jammu and Kashmir, ahead of Republic day.

No country in the world had to fight terrorism by denying it’s people the right to access the internet. Journalism has been dying a slow death in Kashmir.

I have serious concerns about the continuous communication blockade imposed on Jammu and Kashmir, and I demand the lifting of restrictions and the restoration of the internet across Jammu and Kashmir ahead of Republic day.

A scene from Srinagar. Civilian life has been dotted with the presence of armed forces for decades in the valley, serving as a pressing reminder that the state is under constant siege. (Photo: Kashmir Global/Flickr)

The ongoing internet blackout in Kashmir has been the longest ever in a democracy. Despite the Supreme Court’s orders to review the internet ban, the government has decided not to fully lift curbs imposed on the Valley since August 4, 2019. This is unfortunate and a move against its own people.

Security agencies are competent enough to bring culprits to book for misusing social networking sites but a blanket ban is against the aspirations of the common people and put unreasonable restraints in place. No internet access for such a long time reportedly led to WhatsApp deleting accounts, because of inaction.

The people in the valley who depend mostly on the internet for their livelihood have long been subjected to hardships. Now, it is too late, and people wish for all restrictions to be lifted as soon as, possible and are requesting the same to be announced as such during Republic day celebrations.

Kashmir has entered its sixth month of existing in a more-or-less digital void. Let the government take precautionary steps like verification of social media accounts with an intention to help stop the spread of fake news across various online platforms. The spread of fake news is a social problem firstly, and the people have always helped the respective governments in sorting out such issues.

Due to this unprecedented communication blockade in the Valley, journalism has been dying a slow death here. Journalists have not been able to report the ground reality in a place full of uncertainties. The media is known as an important tool of democracy and this indispensable component of social management is suffering the most in the Kashmir Valley.

Journalists everywhere, especially in Kashmir, are risking their lives to cover a story with the aim to make it reach the public domain, which is worth appreciating. But honestly, successive regimes have forgotten their endeavours and contributions, and no arrangements have been made yet for their safety and security.

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