While Modi promotes `Digital India’ in US, Internet blackout continues in Kashmir

Several newspapers fail to hit news stands for 3rd day, news agencies’ work hampered

In an irony of sorts, while the Prime Minister Narendra Modi was busy promoting his `Digital India’ brand and wooing corporate honchos in the Silicon Valley in the US counting on benefits of internet and social networking sites, the internet blackout in Jammu and Kashmir continued even on Sunday, for the third consecutive day.

Modi promotes `Digital India’ in US, Internet blackout continues in KashmirThe subscribers were unable to access the services through wired or wireless devices in the wake of internet blackout, which was to end Saturday midnight.

Consequently, the working of all technology/online services both in government and private sector, newspaper offices, business establishments besides other internet savvy organizations was badly affected on the third consecutive day. The journalists, students, tourists, pilgrims, ticket booking travel agencies besides on line business handlers continued to be the worst sufferers.

Though few news agencies quoting the government sources stated that the internet services would be resumed across the state Sunday evening yet it did not happen.

In some parts of Jammu outskirts, the restrictions on broadband services were reportedly eased late in the evening yet the access to services there also remained very restricted as most of the netizens even in those areas could not connect.

The government had imposed the ban on internet services throughout the state on the eve of the Eid festival to prevent anti-social elements posting provocative comments and pictures online.

After the state high court re-asserted an 1862 law against bovine slaughter, a huge controversy has been swirling in the Muslim majority state, with both the clerics and politicians blaming the order as interference in religious rights of the Muslim community.

The PDP-BJP coalition government continued to face ire of citizens, who were literally pushed to medieval age by the ruling dispensation with the ban on internet services during the festive occasion.

In the past three days scores of newspapers either could not hit the stands across the state or their functioning was badly affected due to suspension of internet services. Though it was not declared ban on media yet the snapping of internet services served the purpose as flow of news

The woes of businessmen, already irate over losses worth crores due to snapping of internet connectivity, too lingered as the working of on-line system at Commercial Check Post Lakhanpur continued to remain affected resulting in non clearance of industrial goods with part load, disruption in the on line billing system of the units and non working of other e-commerce related matters on the third consecutive day.

Ditto was the situation in case of banking services including ATMs, Debit cards, on line clearance and transactions continued to be affected throughout the state.

Besides the newspaper offices, business houses besides the internet cafes all over the state have to suffer due to non availability of the internet services which were suspended since Thursday night.

An IT professional from Jammu Anjul Gupta, which ruing the blanket internet ban by the coalition government, rejects the contention that snapping internet services on the whole was a justifiable precautionary measure in view of apprehensions of misuse of the services by miscreants to create communal tension.

“This is a very retrograde ironical step more so when the Prime Minister himself is talking about ‘Digital India’ in the Silicon Valley in the United States and his party BJP is a coalition partner in J&K. The imprudent move has brought the activities of professionals, scribes and business establishments to a grinding halt for none of their faults thus causing losses worth crores. In case of apprehensions of misuse of internet services, social networking sites by miscreants to create trouble and stoke communal tension, they could have blocked Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and SMS services, where was the need to put a blanket ban?”Anjul questions the move.

“My business has come to a complete halt in the last three days, I have faced a huge loss in the business. With the snapping of all type of internet services in the state, including Jammu region, the business of hundreds of people like me has suffered badly,” says Vijay Singh a Jammu-based businessman.

Apprehending law and order problem in Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir government had taken the decision to snap the internet services in the valley for 48 hours starting from midnight of September 24-25. However, later, the ban was extended to Jammu as well.

According to the police, the decision (to snap internet services) was taken to stop miscreants from hurting the religious sentiments of other communities by posting ‘objectionable pictures and videos’ on the social networking sites.

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