Kashmiris welcome Supreme Court order, hope to log in soon

Updated on Aug 23, 2020 01:58 AM IST

Facing sixth month of internet shutdown, people termed Supreme Court’s order as big relief and urge J&K administration to restore connection at the earliest.

Kashmiri journalists holding placards and laptops during a protest against the ongoing internet blockade, in Srinagar, in November 2019.(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)
Kashmiri journalists holding placards and laptops during a protest against the ongoing internet blockade, in Srinagar, in November 2019.(Waseem Andrabi / Hindustan Times)
Hindustan Times, Srinagar | ByMir Ehsan

People in Kashmir on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court order to the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review internet curbs and were hopeful that services will be restored at the earliest.

They have started enquiring from officials on when they could actually have internet facilities back on their phones, homes and offices since the Supreme Court termed internet access a fundamental right.

“The shutdown has entered its sixth month. In today’s age, business is impossible without internet and every sector, especially tourism, has suffered huge losses due to this communication blockade. With the Supreme Court order, we are hopeful that the government won’t wait for internet restoration now. The verdict is a big relief but we need to see when net connection is actually restored in the Valley,” Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) president Sheikh Ashiq said.

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Kashmir has been under communication curbs since the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019. The government, however, restored broadband services in 80 offices and hospitals recently.

Asem Mohiuddin, who runs a news portal and had to shift base outside Kashmir to keep his portal running, termed the court’s decision as “very encouraging”. “In today’s age, internet is the basic infrastructure of life. It involves every aspect of life. We welcome this decision and request the government to restore internet facilities as soon as possible.”

Advocate Mudasir Naqshbandi, who practises at the Jammu and Kashmir high court, said, “The government snaps internet services in Kashmir from time to time. This time, however, it was the longest communication blockade without an explanation. The people in J&K, especially Kashmir, have suffered due to the internet shutdown. This decision was the need of the hour and people should welcome it.”

The Supreme Court has asked given a week’s time to the administration to review the curbs imposed for the past 160 days.

Majid Ahmed, a scholar at Kashmir University, agreed that the decision will bring relief to the people. “The government always takes cover under the (law and order) situation to impose restrictions. We hope now the government comes up with an explanation on why people had to suffer due to this communication blockade,” he said.

The decision was taken by the government to avoid any untoward incident in the Valley as it moved to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Some leaders, including former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Obamr Abdullah and Mehooba Mufti, were also detained. Though the curbs are being relaxed, the leaders are still kept under house arrest.

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