COMPLETE blackout of mobile, landline telecommunications and internet services in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir on the eve and Republic Day celebrations in the country is most unfortunate when India claims to be the largest democracy of the world. The people of Kashmir and many parts of Jammu region were reeling under blackout of these modern communication facilities when the world is moving forward for no fault of theirs. This is not for the first time such an action has been taken to shut down these services in J&K by the government owned and private telecommunication companies.
Previously also, people of J&K have been bereft of these services due to jingoistic attitude of the central government on the pretext of security of the state. During the limited Kargil war with Pakistan, these services were shut down by Delhi without any explanation.
Similarly, internet services were shut down after militants’ attack on Parliament building in 2001 and the people had to wait for more than six months for restoration of these facilities. In an age when business and day to day dealings majority of the people depend upon internet services, the people of J&K are unfortunately found waiting for them as an act of favour from New Delhi instead of its availability being their democratic right.
The ban on Short Messaging Services (SMS) imposed by Union home ministry continues to be there for pre-paid mobile phones for no fault of the subscribers. How should the people feel when they are not only ignored but made prisoners of technical advances by the state itself. Apart from this, it is a sad state of affairs that many areas in J&K continue to remain off the coverage areas for most communication companies for the reasons best known to the centre and the state government. The people living in far flung and remote areas are so disappointed with the attitude of the authorities that they have now refused to even raise their voice for demanding such facilities. These measures and indifferent attitude of the governments have only added to the alienation of the masses in J&K.