In occupied Kashmir, normal life continues to get hit across the Valley for the 51st consecutive day, today, as shops and business establishments are closed in as far as Uri area of Baramulla district.
According to Kashmir Media Service, clampdown on communications, including mobile phones and internet, remain in force and, according to officials, they have no plans to lift them in the near future. Although, landlines have been activated in some parts of the Kashmir valley but the number of civilian subscribers is a small community as majority have switched over to mobile phones. The shops and educational institutions in the Kashmir valley are closed and roads wear a deserted look due to the ongoing restrictions. The tourism front has also taken a hit due to the clampdown. Majority of hotels are empty and taxi service is unavailable too.
Generally, an environment of fear persists due to heavy military presence across every nook and corner of the valley. Indian forces randomly pick up youth at many places, severely thrash and beat them before releasing them and this is meant to create fear psychosis among the general masses so that they refrain from holding anti-India protests.
The Srinagar-based Kashmir Press Club while criticizing the unprecedented communications shutdown in the Kashmir valley has said that these unreasonable restrictions are aimed at gagging the press in the territory.
The journalists’ body said there have been several reminders from the club to the authorities to free the communication of newspaper offices, journalists, and the club itself, but an undue delay in restoring the communications confirms the misgiving that the government doesn’t intend to provide an enabling atmosphere for the media to operate in the valley.
The press club said the blackout of mobile telephones and internet has severely hampered the work of journalists as they are unable to get confirmation about ground situation due to this communications blockade.—INP