Indian government restores some mobile services in Kashmir following 72-day communications blackout

Indian government restores some mobile services in Kashmir following 72-day communications blackout
A fact-finding report feared that the Indian government's revocation of the region's autonomous status would turn it into a 'long term Palestine-like occupation'.
3 min read
14 October, 2019
Despite the government's insistence, life in Kashmir remains anything but normal. [Getty]
The Indian government has finally restored some communications in Kashmir as postpaid mobile phone services were restored on Monday, 72 days after they were first stopped.

Phone and internet services were blocked by the Indian government on 4 August, a day before New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status that allowed it its own flag and constitution.

Around 2.6 million prepaid connections are yet to be restored, and internet service is still down in the valley region. 

However, life in Kashmir in far from normal, with Indian media reporting that stores remain shut and public transport services halted.

Also read: With only Modi's BJP competing, are upcoming elections in Indian-administered Kashmir a farce?

Once the initial shock and dismay over the move subsided, Kashmiris responded with acts of civil disobedience, a move that New Delhi were unprepared for.

A recent fact-finding report led by journalists and advocates found that Kashmiris are increasingly turning to peaceful non-cooperation with Indian authorities to protest the government's lockdown of the Kashmir valley.

The report further stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to revoke the state's autonomy and impose the lockdown would result in a "long term Palestine-like occupation" that would take its toll not just on Kashmiris but also on the Indian economy, Indian news outlet reported.

New Delhi has for the last two months asserted that the situation in the state was normal, but shortly after took out full page advertisements in ten local newspapers on Friday urging shopowners to end their strike and rejoin the workforce.

"For over 70 years now, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been misled," the BJP-led government’s ad declared, referring to the state's last seven decades of autonomy under governments led by today’s opposition, the Indian National Congress.

"They have been victims of a vicious campaign and motivated propaganda that has kept them trapped in an endless cycle of terrorism, violence, destruction and poverty."

Local politicians still remain detained, despite Kashmir heading to the polls later this month to vote in local elections.

Three former chief ministers– Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti – were among the dozens of politicians either detained or put under house arrest.

The Kashmiri governor’s advisor Farooq Khan has said that local leaders will be released from detention "one by one after analysis of every individual".

It is unclear when this will happen or how long it will take, the BBC reported. 

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