August 17, 2016 3:31:07 am
It has been a month since mobile services were suspended in Jammu & Kashmir and people remain cut off from their relatives. Now with broadband services too blocked for the last three days, even journalists are struggling.
“Our Internet service provider has withdrawn Internet to us. We are trying our level best to keep you informed. We are literally into bandwidth begging. Kindly bear with us,” the local newspaper Kashmir Life informed its readers on Facebook.
Ahead of Independence Day, the state government had asked private ISPs to stop services; later, it also ordered BSNL to block its broadband connections. Mobile services have been blocked since July 14, with the exception of BSNL postpaid. The government briefly allowed private cellular operators to resume postpaid services before they were asked to cease again.
Now, broadband services are working only in Lal Chowk, Bemina and Sonwar areas of Srinagar, where most government and police offices are located. Newspapers based away from the city centre haven’t been to update their online portals. “We have been writing reports and then submitting those in pen drives,” said Marouf Ahmad, a journalist with Kashmir Reader.
Kashmir Box, an online e-commerce startup, has temporarily shifted its services to Delhi. Curfew has already affected its courier service. “Now with no Internet in the Valley, we have started an office in Delhi but we are only clearing the backlog. We have no contact with our employees,” said Kashmir Box CEO Muheet Mehraj.
Students in colleges and universities outside, meanwhile, are struggling to contact their families in Kashmir. “With the situation tense, we are all the more worried. We don’t know what is happening back home, and we are facing our own problems,” Wardah Wani, an MBBS student in Bangladesh, said in a WhatsApp message.
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