In south Kashmir, erratic internet service hits online classes, students fume

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the slow-speed internet and suspension of the service for days together after every gunfight has severely hit the education of students in south Kashmir.

“We are supposed to take online classes every day, but we barely have access to 2G internet,” said MuhamadAqib, from Shopian.

Aqib is pursuing post graduation from Kashmir University. “We have missed almost all classes in these two months,” he said.

In August last year, after the Center abrogated J&K’s special status, the educational institutes in Kashmir remained closed for nearly seven months, amid communication blocked.

“Our academic year suffered last year, and if the internet restrictions continue, we will end up losing another semester,” Aqib said.

Last Monday 2G internet was suspended in Kulgam and Shopian districts for three days after a gunfight between security forces and militant in Kulgam.

Earlier, this month the internet services remained suspended in Pulwama, Shopian and Awantipora, for two weeks, following the encounter in Beighpora, Awantipora wherein Hizb commander RiyazNaikoo was killed along with his associate.

“On one hand, the government is showing eagerness on carrying on with the online classes, but on the other hand, it is denying the internet to us,” said MuhamadShariq from Awantipora. Shariq is studying at Pulwama Degree College.

The school-going children from both private and government schools have also not been able to avail the facility of online classes on the Zoom app owing to erratic internet service.

“We barely get internet services for two days a week. How can our children connect to their teachers for online classes,” asked, MushtaqAhamd, a parent from Kulgam.

The security agencies, however, have been citing the law and order problem as the reason for snapping the internet services during and after gunfights.

“We mostly suspend internet service to stop rumor-mongering and misuse of social media by some elements inciting violence,” a police official said.

He said services are restored immediately after the review of the security situation.