India extends 'crippling' 2G restriction in occupied Kashmir

India extends 'crippling' 2G restriction in occupied Kashmir
2 min read
28 May, 2020
Mobile services in occupied Kashmir are being still being restricted to 2G network.
Kashmir is under occupation [Getty]

India has extended its 4G ban on occupied Kashmir until mid-June, leaving crippling restrictions on residents and the region’s freedom.

India’s Jammu and Kashmir Government late Wednesday announced that they will continue providing only 2G mobile phone network to their residents until June 17, claiming to curb militant attacks.

“The reports suggest rise in the infiltration of (militant) during the coming weeks due to the onset of summer and melting of snow, which gets facilitated through use of Voice on Internet Protocol (VOIP) and encrypted mobile communication, being used by the operatives/anti-national elements to communicate with their handlers from across the border,” said Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary Home Department.

Activists say the ban in occupied Kashmir is yet another mechanism to suppress the Kashmiri economy, a strain on education and employment and to silence the media and free information. 

Read also: India's draconian internet shutdown hinders Kashmir's battle against Covid-19

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government imposed a communications blackout in August 2019 when it stripped the portion of Kashmir it controls - the country's only Muslim-majority region - of its partial autonomy.

This made life even harder for the region's seven million inhabitants and hit the local economy hard.

Modi's government said that the blackout was for security reasons, aimed at restricting the ability of armed militants - who it says are backed by arch-rival Pakistan - to communicate.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since independence in 1947, and has been the spark of two wars and numerous flare-ups between the two nuclear-armed foes.

A bloody insurgency against Indian rule that has raged in the scenic Himalayan region for decades has left tens of thousands dead, mostly civilians.

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