A report by J&K Coalition of Civil Society (J&KCCS) on Tuesday described the “internet siege as collective punishment” to people of J&K.
The report, “Kashmir Internet Siege”, says for already vulnerable people of J&K the siege was enforced by various modes of network disruption and state control over access to the internet.
It says that alongside routine extensions of internet restrictions, frequent complete suspensions of mobile internet connectivity through emergency orders have also continued unabated.
As per the report, since January this year, when the 2G internet connectivity was restored, 70 such temporary suspension orders have been issued.
The report reads that livelihood consequences of the August 2019 shutdown were severe, and losses suffered during the first five months alone were estimated at Rs 178.78 billion, with more than 500,000 people losing jobs.
“Health indices showed a marked decline, with numbers of visits in some hospitals in August 2019 dropping by as much as 38%,” it says. “Education suffered a major setback, and the first anniversary of the internet shutdown in August 2020 saw students in Kashmir’s schools and institutes of higher education mark a full year without attending Schools, Colleges or Universities.”
The report says: “An expansive timeline presents a temporal visualisation of the fluidity and complexity of the digital siege as it unfolded through the first 300 days, across different regional geographies within Jammu & Kashmir.”