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August 17, 2016 10:58:34 | Rising Kashmir News

Internet ban, police and the government

After banning newspapers for five days in July following the raids on printing presses, government has been using other tactics to halt the publications. On August 13,  the limited broadband connectivity in Kashmir was further squeezed to a few pockets virtually blocking the news flow from Valley to the rest of the world. In addition the internet connectivity to major newspapers in Srinagar was blocked by issuing a directive to a private service provider-CNS to shut its operations. This further hampered the news operations of various newspapers of whom many could not hit the stands. Since internet is the back bone in production of a newspaper, the government ultimately achieved its goal of ensuring media black out. While the blockade was taken in stride in view of ever-apprehensive days of August 14 and 15 in Kashmir, it was hoped that good sense would prevail upon the government after this all was over. However, it did not happen and brought out another harsh reality to the fore that is how police over rules even the Chief Minister. After a group of Editors met the Director Information on August 16 and urged him to get the connections unblocked to facilitate the publication of newspapers, they were assured that it would be resolved by evening. We were given to understand that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who holds the portfolio of Information had given clear instructions to restore the internet to media houses but the police refused to implement the orders. This not only makes it evident that some crucial decisions are taken at a particular level, not necessarily at the level of political leadership which in that case is kept in dark. Such steps, it seems now clear are taken by the civil and police administration only to safeguard their positions and by blocking the news these officers think that situation would “improve” and consequently their positions are protected. But these things turn counter productive for the government that has been grappling with the challenge of restoring order. With people seething in anger these administrators have turned all other institutions against the government and reduced the political leadership to an entity that no longer enjoys the writ. Blocking internet connectivity to newspapers, although limited has completed the circle of communication curfew that has been in force for 40 days. All private mobile services including the data are barred, broadband services have been withdrawn and only limited numbers of government owned BSNL post paid phones are working. The administrators, essentially the Police has managed a complete black out which in other words has cast a dark shadow over the government that has become powerless in this police state. 

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August 17, 2016 10:58:34 | Rising Kashmir News

Internet ban, police and the government

              

After banning newspapers for five days in July following the raids on printing presses, government has been using other tactics to halt the publications. On August 13,  the limited broadband connectivity in Kashmir was further squeezed to a few pockets virtually blocking the news flow from Valley to the rest of the world. In addition the internet connectivity to major newspapers in Srinagar was blocked by issuing a directive to a private service provider-CNS to shut its operations. This further hampered the news operations of various newspapers of whom many could not hit the stands. Since internet is the back bone in production of a newspaper, the government ultimately achieved its goal of ensuring media black out. While the blockade was taken in stride in view of ever-apprehensive days of August 14 and 15 in Kashmir, it was hoped that good sense would prevail upon the government after this all was over. However, it did not happen and brought out another harsh reality to the fore that is how police over rules even the Chief Minister. After a group of Editors met the Director Information on August 16 and urged him to get the connections unblocked to facilitate the publication of newspapers, they were assured that it would be resolved by evening. We were given to understand that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who holds the portfolio of Information had given clear instructions to restore the internet to media houses but the police refused to implement the orders. This not only makes it evident that some crucial decisions are taken at a particular level, not necessarily at the level of political leadership which in that case is kept in dark. Such steps, it seems now clear are taken by the civil and police administration only to safeguard their positions and by blocking the news these officers think that situation would “improve” and consequently their positions are protected. But these things turn counter productive for the government that has been grappling with the challenge of restoring order. With people seething in anger these administrators have turned all other institutions against the government and reduced the political leadership to an entity that no longer enjoys the writ. Blocking internet connectivity to newspapers, although limited has completed the circle of communication curfew that has been in force for 40 days. All private mobile services including the data are barred, broadband services have been withdrawn and only limited numbers of government owned BSNL post paid phones are working. The administrators, essentially the Police has managed a complete black out which in other words has cast a dark shadow over the government that has become powerless in this police state. 

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