Wahid Bhat | Srinagar
Since August 5 this year Kashmir is without internet, Thanks to the communication blackout that was put in force after the abrogation of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status article 370 and 35A besides divided Jammu and Kashmir Into two union territories Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Kashmir is without internet which continues even after 130 days now, the people of Kashmir valley remains cut off from the rest of the world.
With no word on when the internet will be restored, GROUNDREPORT.IN reached out to some young people in Kashmir about communication blackout.
Burhaan Rashid, 21, student
Hi Burhaan, how are you dealing with the communication blackout?
Burhaan Bhat: Though we are used to internet shutdowns in Kashmir and have been brought up amidst blood and violence, this time India h taken it too far. 130 days is a lot! Earlier, I would start playing PUBG at night and wouldn’t sleep until the sun came out. Now, I just lie awake in my bed through the night and can hardly sleep.
What do you miss most about life before the clampdown?
I miss playing PUBG but it’s not just about playing a game but having the right to do as you wish, the kind of rights everyone else enjoys. I fear that everyone outside Kashmir is able to play PubG, but I cannot. It will not only affect my ranking, but it’s also about my rights..
Adnan Mushtaq, 20, student
What are you missing the most in this internet blackout?
Adnan Mushtaq: I’m missing my girlfriend. We started dating a week before the 2016 uprising, after which we saw a three-month lockdown. And now, when I’m deeply in love with her, like you can see through this bracelet on my hand that has her name on it, this communication blackout has happened. It is really frustrating. I met her once after the clampdown started and asked her to be at her balcony at 5 PM daily, even though I can’t visit her daily. Her area in Downtown Srinagar is a little prone to protests at that time in the evenings (when the troop deployment is withdrawn).
I really miss my fortnight sessions with my PUBG gang. I’ve also lost my Snapchat streak, and that matters to me. But, in Kashmir, we are also used to it. It is a kind of protocol that we follow. This situation is depressing. It feels like the state has snatched my phone. These days, I scroll through my old WhatsApp group chats, see videos and group pictures, and read old memes. A few of them are really funny. Now, we have moved from PUBG to the parks. Half of the day I don’t know where my phone is.
Are you angry about the state of things?
Not really. If a few days without the internet will save lives in Kashmir, I can live with it. But communication blockade is a real issue.
Aadil Mir, 15, student
Hi Aadil, how are you dealing with the shutdown?
Aadil Mir: I’m very curious about the world, and most of my internet usage is utilised over YouTube by researching on other countries. My favourite is Turkey, because they are an independent country. India might be independent but Kashmir isn’t. What difference is the shutdown making to your daily life now? Google was my go-to thing. Now, I have a lot of confusion about different things with no one to answer my questions. The internet shutdown in Kashmir may have led to the loss of several lives, doctors treating cardiac patients in remote villages of the newly formed Union Territory.