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Kashmir faces world’s longest communication blackout

Shahana Butt

Press TV, Indian-administered Kashmir

Official figures show that India has suspended internet connections 180 times over the past 5 years in Indian-controlled Kashmir. 

However this year has been the worst on record, with the government shutting all sorts of internet services, cellular networks and satellite internet providers. The move has made the life all the more difficult for Kashmiris. 

Communication outage has not just affected the social life; businesses are the biggest victim of the Indian government’s move.

The owner of Craft Hive, a hit Instagram page in Kashmir, says she is out of touch with her partners, support staff and vendors.

Umaira is not alone in this strife. There are scores of people who have started their startup online businesses and due to prevailing circumstances their investments have failed. 

The education sector, the employment exchange, and journalism are also victims of the Indian government’s decision. 

While the landline phones have been restored in Kashmir after almost a month of communication blockade, New Delhi says it has no plans for restoring internet services citing cross border tensions. 

The communications blackout as well as the security crackdown in the Indian-controlled Kashmir has drawn international criticism. 

Experts say internet shutdowns are a violation of the constitutional right to freedom of speech. Kashmir’s communications blackout has inflicted serious damage to the region’s economy, businesses and individuals.

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