Kashmir Needs A Policy On virtual Communication

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A week after state administration restored the phone services in Kashmir valley partially, it has decided not to move further and restore the services for the prepaid customers. In Kashmir the telecommunication services were shut after New Delhi abrogated the Article 370 on August 5. The post paid services were restored in valley after state administration faced huge pressure. Authorities, however claimed that the services of post paid were restored owing to remarkable improvement in the ground situation.

Rohit Kansal, a state spokesman for Jammu and Kashmir administration even assured to restore the internet and prepaid services in press conference provided the security scenario improves and no sort of law and order problems arise. Barely a day after the restoration of post paid services, militants shot dead three truck drivers of outside valley in south Kashmir area. The drivers were in south Kashmir to load the apple produce since the harvesting of the crop is on its peak. The tragic killings prompted authorities immediately to suspend the messaging services on post paid connections though the telephone services continued. The incidents, however, made chances bleak for the restoration of prepaid services. As of valley has over 26 lakh prepaid customers who face immense hardships due to non-functioning of their mobile numbers? The internet services stand already shut and it is unlikely that internet and prepaid mobile phone services may be restored anytime soon.  This is not the first time when the communication breakdown witnessed Kashmir not either the last time given to its prevailing political situation.

So far, however, the breakdown is one of the longest. Due to the prolonged virtual siege in valley, the development is also at grinding halt. Given to the blockade the Panchayats which has received so far Rs 500 crores for developmental works are also dysfunctional. Communication in the present times is the most and only means that runs business and life in the world. As the conflict is in place in Kashmir and may continue to prevail the government needs to draw a comprehensive mechanism with regard to the communications. In Sri Lanka-a tiny island nation which is also a conflict ridden managed well in the country to keep people away from misusing the facility. The country banned Social media platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Viber and Whatsup following the tensions in the region. Similarly, the China has also streamlined the social media in the country and does not face any threat of it being misused.

As the Kashmir is in a transition phase and by October 31 it will be a Union territory, New Delhi must draw a formal plan regarding the communication services in Kashmir. As long the uncertainty prevails in Kashmir, the communication services must be at receiving end. The basic fundamental rights of the people must be respected by the world’s largest democracy. It is a gross human rights violation when the people are deprived of their rights in utilizing the services of communication. The frequent communication breakdowns in Kashmir does not augur well and continuous t haunt the economy of valley besides push people to the wall.

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