Journalists in Indian-occupied Kashmir are struggling to make ends meet amid a months-long communications blockade that has only partially been lifted. The BBC’s Priyanka Dubey visited the region to find out more.
Muneeb Ul Islam, 29, had worked as a photojournalist in Kashmir for five years, his pictures appearing in several publications in India and abroad.
But the young photographer’s dream job vanished almost overnight in August last year, when India’s federal government suspended landline, mobile and internet services in Kashmir.
The government’s move came a day before its announcement that it was revoking the region’s special status – a constitutionally-guaranteed provision, which gave Kashmir partial autonomy in matters related to property ownership, permanent residency and fundamental rights.
The controversial decision catapulted the Muslim-majority valley into global news – but local journalists like Mr Islam had no way to report on what was going on. And worse, they had to find other things to do because journalism could no longer pay the bills.
By January, the region had not had access to the internet for more than 150 days, India’s longest such shutdown.
Media captionThe silenced YouTube stars of Indian-administered Kashmir “I chose journalism because I wanted to do something for my people,” Mr Islam explains. “I covered this conflict-ridden region with dedication until the loss of Kashmir’s special status put a full stop on my journey.—Agencies