Why ban broadband?

Once again, people were deprived of an essential service on a religious festival.

For the second time in past two months, the state government snapped the broadband internet in Valley. This time over five days of Eid-ul-Azha. For one, the situation was no different than has been the case over the past seventy days. Where was the overriding need to suspend the internet?  Government alone knows. Once again the ban was imposed without any information. Once again, people were deprived of an essential service on  a religious festival. Imagine the disconnect it created on a day when you have to be socially engaged. And for none of our fault. And what about the thousands of people who depend on this last remaining internet link for their livelihood. And why do people have to be saddled with the suspension of even the broadband service in the first place when the last more than two months have proved that banning the internet makes little difference to the situation on the ground. Protests have gone on regardless and the killings and injuries too haven't stopped. The presumed government rationale behind this blockade is that the content on social sites stokes the trouble on the street. Besides, there is an assumption of a connection between the protests on the street and the posts on social websites. Internet therefore is granted a role in abetting the trouble on the ground. But what is also apparent from this security perspective is that internet has only a limited role which can be tackled without blocking the entire web access.   Some people rightly argue that if the government is so scared of the social media, it should temporarily restrict access to social sites rather than make the entire web out of bounds for one and all. This rush to sweeping communication blackout on the shaky premise of this access leading to street unrest is a wilful infringement of the people's right to know. More so, when it has hardly helped head off the outbreak of the protests  across the Valley.

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