UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — On Saturday, Indian authorities restarted the Internet in the Kashmir region, about five and a half months after the outage, but kept it valid on social media sites.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a communication ban in early August, when it demolished the semi-autonomous part of Kashmir it controlled.
India has also imposed a curfew and reinforced its forces in the region by sending thousands of additional soldiers and in particular detaining dozens of Kashmiri politicians, many of whom are still in custody, prompting a wave of external criticism.
The Internet was partially restored on Saturday, and 301 sites approved by the government could be visited. The list includes global news sites and platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.
Likewise, the Internet phone service was restarted, but at the speed of the second generation of communications.
“It is good to have partial access to the internet, but the speed is slow and I suffer to access anything, as well as the social media is still out of service,” university student Rashid Ahmed told AFP.
In turn, local businessman Azhar Hussain denounced the “very slow” Internet speed.
Activists say India is at the forefront of countries that cut Internet services, and Internet services were temporarily suspended in other areas of the country during the protest against a new citizenship law.
In December, the Indian authorities reinstated some telecommunications services, such as allowing phone messages to be received so that Kashmiris could obtain digital codes sent by banks or to facilitate financial transfers.
In January, the Supreme Court of India considered that the decision to disconnect the Internet was “arbitrary” and inconsistent with “freedom of expression”.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonialism in 1947. It was the cause of numerous wars and clashes between the two nuclear rivals, the last of which was last February.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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