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India suspends internet in parts of Kashmir in order to curb dissent

On November 7th, India suspended the internet in parts of Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir for “security reasons”. 

The Telecom Service Providers were instructed to shut down internet services in areas of south Kashmir by Vijay Kumar, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Kashmir Zone. 

The ADGP, justifying the ban on the internet, stated that there was a possibility of internet services being “misused by anti-national elements, which may cause deterioration in public order.” 

India has for long denied the people of Kashmir the right to use the internet freely in order to express their dissent, in the name of “security” and “public order”. 

For example, residents in Indian-occupied Kashmir experienced more internet shutdowns and restrictions than any other region in 2022, including Iran and Russia. More than a fifth of all web blackouts took place in Kashmir, according to Surfshark, a virtual private network company headquartered in Lithuania.

Kashmir has been subjected to restricted and blocked internet regularly since 2019, when India revoked the region’s nominal autonomous status. Information from the Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir, which is a government body, shows 49 internet suspension orders were issued in the year 2022. The internet was shut down for a total of 456 hours last year. 

This trend continued in 2023. In the month of September, we documented 9 internet blockades in the valley. In August, India shut down the internet 8 times. Between January and July this year, internet was suspended around 120 times.

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