Silent streets, quiet atmosphere, restricted movement and snapped internet services, this is how Indian Independence Day is celebrated in Kashmir. In the past few days the state has left no stone turned to imprison the people in their own homes and blocking services – phone and internet that are meant to connect with the people.
Frustration of people has grown out of proportions due to strict censorship in the form of snapping internet services for sixth consecutive day. Denying people of their basic right that is right to freedom of expression and of speech that too on the Independence Day speaks volumes about the bad governance and autocratic rule in this part of the world. Unlike rest of the places in India where the day is celebrated with verve and nerve, but in Kashmir the people remain confined to their homes and experience curfew throughout the day.
The sordid idea of the authorities blocking the internet services for mysterious “security reasons” has landed the businessmen of the valley in trouble. They have suffered immense losses and the ramifications have turned out to be colossal. Internet is one of the essential services without which many businesses and activities come to a halt, especially those who are solely dependent on networking. Our own CM Omar Abdullah is popular for being tech savvy and maintains an active Twitter profile. By not protesting against the bans like SMS and Internet, he shows how much weak he is before the political bosses at the Centre. The idea of blocking internet and gagging information and networking services is totally absurd and bizarre.
How on earth can Kashmiris celebrate an event when their minds are chained, ideas are suppressed and voices are being muted? Even after 67 years of Indian Independence, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is ruled in a very different way. Barriers have been and still are created between Kashmir and the rest of India. It has been six years since SMS service was banned in the state, what freedom are they talking about? How lame is the idea – SMS ban, when people are already using other texting services over phones. The truth is that people of Kashmir are forced to remain isolated, even form each other and not integrate, for if they would be allowed to integrate they would definitely start questioning about their exploitation.
Also, if the Government of India and the state government proclaim with pride that people have voted, elected the representatives in ‘fair elections’ then why they are so afraid and impose restrictions on the free will of Kashmiris? It is a proof as how people of Kashmir are used and kept in control.
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