Mobile internet service suspended, restored

Mobile internet services were suspended in Kulgam and Shopian districts last week after several braid chopping incidents took place there.

SAQIB MALIK
Srinagar, Publish Date: Oct 7 2017 12:06AM | Updated Date: Oct 7 2017 2:07AM
Mobile internet service suspended, restoredFile Photo

Authorities on Friday suspended the mobile internet service across Kashmir to prevent what it called rumor-mongering on braid-cutting incidents. However, the services were restored late in the evening.

A senior police official said that the internet was snapped as part of measures “to keep a check on rumors and in view of the call for protests by separatists.”

A number of videos and photographs of braid-chopping incidents in Kashmir have gone viral on social media sites during the past three weeks when almost 50 such incidents have been reported.

Mobile internet services were suspended in Kulgam and Shopian districts last week after several braid chopping incidents took place there.

According to an executive of a private mobile operator, the latest suspension of internet in Kashmir is 26th this year.  

“We were directed to shutdown internet first in Srinagar and Budgam in the morning and then in rest of the districts,” the executive said. “Mobile internet was restored later in the evening,”

Traders who are among the worst affected by the internet suspension said business declines by 50 per cent whenever the internet is snapped. “Most people use debit cards for shopping and in absence of mobile internet our point of sale (POS) machines don’t work which badly affects our business,” said Aijaz Shahdar, spokesman of Kashmir Traders Federation, who also runs a business at Karan Nagar.

The mobile companies operating in Kashmir have also been suffering huge losses as, according to Cellular Operators Association of India, the telecom companies suffered losses worth almost Rs 180 crore during the 2016 uprising, with almost daily losses of Rs 2 crore during complete suspension of both internet and calling.   The first internet ban in Kashmir this year was imposed on April 8 when mobile and broadband services were shut from midnight in Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam districts ahead of Srinagar parliamentary seat bypoll. However, the restriction on Internet services was extended to the entire Kashmir on April 9 and was in force till April 12 till the proposed Anantnag by-poll.