Asia - Pacific

India restores postpaid cell phone services in Kashmir

Internet connectivity to remain suspended for now

Shuriah Niazi   | 15.10.2019
India restores postpaid cell phone services in Kashmir ( Faisal Khan - Anadolu Agency )

NEW DELHI

India restored postpaid cellphone services Monday on all networks in the Kashmir Valley, 72 days after scrapping the state’s special status.

According to government figures, Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has around 4 million postpaid mobile subscribers. But another 3 million prepaid phone connections are yet to be restored, and the internet is still not available on cellphone and fixed line networks.

People in the valley had mixed reactions after postpaid services were restored.

“There are a lot more curbs that have to be lifted, but it’s still good to see that we can contact our dear and near ones,” Safdar Bhatt told Anadolu Agency.

“We were totally disconnected from the outside world. Our relatives in other places would come to know about the kind of life we were living during these days.”

Another resident of Srinagar, requesting anonymity, said the first thing she did was contact her son studying in Uttar Pradesh.

“We have suffered a lot during the last two months and are still struggling with life. I just want to give the message that the government has made our lives hell.”

Many restrictions were imposed in the valley after the government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on Aug. 5.

Another resident of Srinagar, Haroon Ahmed, wants the government to restore internet service in the area.

“Our businesses have come to a standstill without the internet. One can imagine our condition. We have been suffering for no fault of ours,” he said.

The business community has also faced lot of hardship because of the restrictions on the internet.

Jammu and Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since the Indian government scrapped its special status.

India has also blocked communication access and imposed restrictions on movement to thwart any protests in the region.

Several rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have repeatedly called on India to lift restrictions and release political detainees.

Many organizations and countries have expressed concern over the curbs.

From 1954 until Aug. 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under the Indian constitution, which allowed it to enact its own laws.

The provisions also protected the region's citizenship law, which barred outsiders from settling in and owning land in the territory.

India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.

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