Throttled internet a handicap in Kashmir's Corona awareness

Covid19, its symptoms and precautions are the most searched topics on internet by people in Jammu and Kashmir during past seven days. The internet search trend has come at a time when the people in J&K are seeking restoration of high-speed internet connectivity which could help to prepare them better to combat the spread of this deadly virus.

Internet was banned in Jammu and Kashmir by the government on August 5, 2019, when the special constitutional position of the state was abrogated. Only low speed 2G internet has been restored on mobile phones since January 25.

“There is hardly any literature available on this virus, the only thing we can do is to search on internet about it. Mostly I search how to detect symptoms and precautions to be taken. But slow internet is a handicap, one fails to understand that even in this pandemic what is holding the government back from restoring proper speed internet. On 4G network, we could have watched videos by doctors and researchers on ways to combat this virus, like people in the rest of the world,” said Ajaz Lolpuri, a resident of Srinagar.

According to Google data trends, J&K is ranked at the top of the table in India in which 100 percent internet users have searched about Coronavirus.

Apart from this, the people of Kashmir are searching about the ways to prevent psychological stress during lockdown.

After detection of first Covid19 case in Kashmir last week, the administration put the Valley under lockdown, well before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a countrywide lockdown of 21 days. Kashmir has witnessed numerous lockdowns in the past decade, most recent being the one after August 5, 2019, for four months. However this is unprecedented as the people are voluntarily staying at home to avoid spread of Coronavirus. It was for the first time that Friday prayers were not offered in mosques across Kashmir.

“I haven’t seen this kind of situation ever in my life,” said Bashir Ahmad, a 78-year old retired employee.