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A New Trend Of Internet Shutdown In Kashmir Valley

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Mukaram Wani | Jammu and Kashmir| The Routine of Snapping Internet by the government authorities in J&K started in 2012, is still continue. Authorities in J&K has snapped internet services more than 300 times till this date. Earlier in 2016 Kashmir Valley has faced first longest Internet Shutdown which lasts for 133 Days & In 2019 the Longest Internet Shutdown In a World was reported in J&K which lasts for 552 days.

Besides this, authorities frequently shut the Mobile Internet Services in Kashmir Valley when there is a law and order problem. From 2016 to Mid 2021, when there is an Encounter/any untoward incident in any district of Kashmir authorities snap down the Mobile Internet Services in that district for precautionary measures, mostly in Four Districts of South Kashmir. From Mid 2021, the authorities reduce these frequent Internet Shutdowns in Kashmir Valley.

New Trend Of Internet Shutdown

Earlier Mobile Internet was shut in a whole district when there was any law and Order Problem, but on 18th October 2021 “A New Trend Of Internet Shutdown started in Kashmir Valley”. On 18th Govt Authorities snap-down Mobile Internet Services in Specific Areas Of Kashmir.

Now Locals from various area’s of Central and South Kashmir are facing frequent internet cut’s nearly from past 15 Days. These frequent Internet Shutdowns come after recent killings of Non-Locals in the valley of Kashmir.

The Users From Parts of Srinagar, Kulgam, Anantnag (Islamabad) & Pulwama are facing spells Of internet cuts without any reason. These unannounced internet shutdowns are creating a lot Of Problems for the user’s especially Journalists, businessmen & Students. These Shutdowns usually occur from 7 AM to 11 AM and 3 PM to 10 PM.

Besides these Internet Shutdowns, residents are also facing call drops during these frequent Internet Shutdowns which are creating a lot of problems for the residents living in these areas.

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First And Longest Internet Shutdown In Kashmir

The first recorded Internet shutdown in India took place in Jammu and Kashmir in 2012, when mobile internet services were suspended for a few hours during protests against a movie that allegedly hurt Islamic sentiments.

An internet shutdown was imposed on the evening of 4th August 2019, when Article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated by the Parliament of India. The State of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

This Internet Shutdown Continues For 552 Days In J&K and for 145 Days In Ladakh. The Restrictions were lifted in Ladakh in December 2019 but continued in UT of J&k. In UT of J&K, These restrictions were gradually eased starting with restoration of landlines and mobile calling services, followed by restoration of 2G Mobile Internet Services & restoration of broadband services including fibre services.

Then 4G Mobile Internet was restored in only 2 districts of J&K (Ganderbal & Udhampur). Finally, High-Speed Mobile Internet (3G,4G) was restored on the 6th of February 2021 at 11 PM in the whole UT of J&K, which marks the longest Internet Shutdown In a Democratic Country in the whole World.

Saving Lives But What About Constitution?

Home Minister Amit Shah while addressing a rally at SKICC in Srinagar on Monday. The Modi government will not allow the killing of civilians while people continue to live in fear, he said. Justifying the imposition of the Centre-led security clampdown in J&K after Article 370 revocation, he said, “Had we not suspended the internet and imposed a curfew, emotions of Kashmiri youth would have been aroused and it would have led to the killing of youths.

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The Rules, issued under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, stipulate that only the Home Secretary of the Union or a state can pass an order and that the order must include the reasons for the decision. The order should be forwarded to a review committee the day after it is issued, and must be reviewed by the committee within five days to assess its compliance with Section 5(2) of The Telegraph Act, under which the government has the power to block the transmission of messages during a public emergency or for public safety.

Until 2017, India don’t have a codified law to order internet shutdowns, The power to do So was vested in district magistrates under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In 2017, new rules to order Internet Shutdowns were introduced.

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Author Is Working For Digital Freedom In India, Mostly Tracking Internet Shutdowns Of J&K, Working With Various National & Local Digital OrganisationsTweets at @mukaramwani