Parents of students outside J&K can't transfer money

Kashmiri child looks from behind a fence at a protest site after Friday prayers during restrictions after the Indian government scrapped the special constitutional status for Kashmir, in Srinagar, August 16, 2019. REUTERS

It was a long wait for Shazia Bano, a middle-aged woman from old city Srinagar, outside the Deputy Commissioner office in Srinagar to make a phone call to her daughter, who is studying in Delhi.

Bano, like hundreds of other Kashmiris, has no contact with their children studying or working outside Kashmir since August 4, after the imposition of communication blockade.

A few days later, some phone lines were set up by the authorities at designated places including police stations and DC offices, wherefrom people could make calls after being scrutinised.

“I have been waiting in the queue for the last three hours. There is a huge rush of people and I hope before it gets dark I will get my turn. I have no idea how my daughter is doing in Delhi as we have not been able to transfer money to her,” visibly depressed Bano told DH.

As all the banks in the Valley are closed, people have no option to transfer money to their children studying outside Kashmir. Coupled with information blockade and strict restriction on movement, helpless people have no option but to wait outside police stations and DC offices to at least contact their loved ones.

Mushtaq Ahmad, whose son is doing MBBS in Pune, has no information about him since the last 11 days. Ahmad had visited the DC office on Tuesday to make a call, but couldn’t get to do it due to the rush.

“By such measures, the government of India is collectively punishing Kashmiris. These restrictions on civil liberties are not placed even during wars. We are being denied our basic rights which will push the people to the wall,” he said.

DC Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said that 14,000 calls were made from six phone lines set up at his office till Wednesday evening. “We could transfer some money to most deserving 13 or 14 students outside the state,” he told DH.

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