IIOJK internet shutdowns

Kashmiris living under Indian occupation continue to suffer from deprivation of access to the outside world, with access to the internet still being restricted

A recent report by Surfshark, a top virtual private network company, said that Occupied Kashmir actually led the world in internet shutdowns and restrictions, ranking well below Russia and Iran, which are both internationally notorious for restricting their citizens’ access to the internet

But unlike Russia, Iran, and even the rest of India, where blackouts and restrictions were generally considered a responsive move to protests or other unrest once problems had already started, in Kashmir, they were often a preemptive move, taken just to ‘put the people in their place’

In fact, the situation in Kashmir was so bad that it actually accounted for over 20% of all internet blackouts

India’s own parliament admits that there are few checks and balances on internet shutdowns — there is not even a central record of how many shutdowns have been ordered — and several Indian media outlets have noted that shutdowns are often even associated with critical reporting on the Modi government’s misdeeds and corruption, rather than security concerns

Surfshark says the internet in Occupied Kashmir was “shut down” for a total of 456 hours in 2022, meaning that “full internet restrictions on a local level” were imposed for at least this much time

But the actual number, nature, and length of shutdowns is even harder to gauge because targeted censorship is harder to detect for users and analysts alike

What makes things worse is that it is not just the internet

Even though the situation has gotten somewhat better than it was for several months after New Delhi’s August 2019 revocation of Kashmir’s special status under the Indian constitution, people in the disputed region continue to face harsh curfews, harassment by security forces, and extrajudicial detention as New Delhi continues to try and crush pro-Pakistan and pro-Independence sentiment among the people

Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2023

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Date:15-Feb-2023 Reference:View Original Link