SC order on internet restoration cheers Kashmiris

SC order on internet restoration cheers Kashmiris

Hours before scrapping special status of J&K under Article 370 on August 5 last year, authorities imposed a communication blockade in Kashmir snapping landline, mobile phone and internet services.

While welcoming the Supreme Court order to Jammu and Kashmir administration to review internet curbs, people in the Valley Friday hoped that the services will be restored as early as possible.

Hours before scrapping special status of J&K under Article 370 on August 5 last year, authorities imposed a communication blockade in Kashmir snapping landline, mobile phone and internet services. However, landline and postpaid mobile phone services were restored in phased manner upto October 14.

“It (SC order) is a welcome decision as in today’s age, business is impossible without internet. The internet gag has severely affected our business from the last more than five months and we hope that the government won’t wait for long its restoration now,” Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) president Sheikh Ashiq told DH.

Lateef Lone, a hotelier in Lal Chowk termed the apex court decision as “a piece of happy news for and huge relief for business community.”

“We have already lost business in the last almost six months due to internet gag. Now we hope that government will restore the service as early as possible so that we can start online bookings for the next tourist season. Everything in tourism sector depends wholly on internet services, from ticketing inquiries to reservations,” he said.

Shahid, a university student said at 159 days, it is the longest internet blackout ever imposed in a democracy. “Though snapping internet services in Kashmir have been going on for the last almost one decade, this time the blackout was without an explanation. The SC decision was need of the hour as every sector in Kashmir was badly hit due to the internet gag,” he said.

“The government should stop taking over under the (law and order) situation to impose e-curfew. The apex court must order the government to stop taking such harsh and arbitrary decisions in future. Such curbs virtually push people to stone age era,” Shahid demanded.

Altaf Bukhari, a former minister, who has been active in rallying, former legislators to start political activities in Kashmir in the last few weeks, also welcomed the supreme court verdict.

In a statement, Bukhari said that the Apex Court’s verdict has given a sigh of relief to the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have tremendously suffered because of communication blockade in last over five months.

“The Honb’le Supreme Court’s verdict vis-a-vis restoration of fundamental rights of citizens of Jammu and Kashmir assumes much significance given the scale of loss suffered by the people especially in education, health and business sectors due to the continuous internet shutdown,” he said. “Since the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has by and large remained calm, the continuation of internet shutdown will only have huge ramifications on the academics, health and economic growth of the people this region.”

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