All landline communication has been restored in Kashmir Valley, a month after the central government imposed a communication blackout on the state, AIR reported earlier this morning. An official spokesperson said that all landline phones have been fully restored in Central, South and North Kashmir districts. However, internet services and cellphone lines remain out of service across Kashmir, NDTV reported. Also, out of 111 police stations, restrictions under Section 144 have been lifted in 92 police station areas across the Valley. On August 4, the government ordered a communications blockade and severe security measures, ahead of revoking Articles 370 and 35A.
On September 4, Srinagar’s District Magistrate and Development Commissioner, Shahid Choudhary had tweeted that most telephone exchanges in Kashmir valley would be made functional by that night. In the Kupwara district, only one private operator has started incoming calls for postpaid customers, according to NDTV.
Restoration of Communication in Valley-
100% of landline exchanges to be operationalized; Remaining 19 exchanges being opened tonight.@dwivedimk_ias @kansalrohit69 @JmuKmrPolice @KVijayKumarIPS@srinagaradmin @listenshahid
— DIPR-J&K (@diprjk) September 4, 2019
The government had partially restored internet and phone services on August 12 to reportedly facilitate Friday prayers for Eid. After the initial shutdown in Kashmir, internet services were also interrupted in Kargil a few days later, after protests against the revocation of Article 370 broke out in the region.
70% of all shutdowns took place in Jammu & Kashmir in 2019
- So far in 2019, Jammu & Kashmir has witnessed 55 shutdowns, while there have been a total of 77 reported shutdowns in the whole country. The state accounts for over 70% of all internet shutdowns in the country this year.
- In 2018, Jammu and Kashmir accounted for almost half of all internet shutdowns. Out of the total 134 internet shutdowns last year, 65 happened there.
- Between January 2012 and July 2019, there have been a reported 172 internet shutdowns in the state. The state saw 32 shutdowns in 2017 and 65 in 2018 during the same period. It was the only state to have internet shutdowns in 2013 and 2014.
This communications blockade continues at a time when the European Commission on Human Rights has said that the internet has acquired “significant importance” in exercising fundamental rights and freedoms. The commission has said that social media constitute a transparent platform, affording individuals the opportunity to participate in creating, and interpreting content for people to access.