Editorial: Mockery of highest order

What can be termed as a worst form of mockery is the announcement by a minister claiming that all the government educational institution and educational offices in the state of Jammu and Kashmir will be provided with reliable internet facility soon.

The ministers announcement claimed that all the High and Higher Secondary Schools, DIETs, SIEs, offices of ZEOs and CEOs will be equipped with reliable internet facility within a short span of time.

Kashmir as we know has been witnessing worst form of repression over the past one year (vis-a-vis internet blockade) as the government has been blocking the internet services on one or the other pretext in Kashmir Valley.

Though suppression of information is nothing new to Kashmir. The governments tactics to suppress information traces its roots to the day when SMS services were banned in Kashmir. From that day onwards, ban on internet has become more of a routine with the authorities trying to curtail the use of internet across Kashmir Valley. 

Internet ban is nothing new to Kashmir. Be it 2016 or the entire first half of this year, the government has been religiously curtailing peoples access to the world of Internet.

It is ironical, especially since it goes totally against the much hyped Digital India movement wherein the government of India is pushing to connect the entire country digitally. Banning internet services in an era when most developed countries of the world are pushing to include access to internet as a basic fundamental right, puts all those to shame who claim that the present regime does not believe in initiating any means of oppression.

What is astonishing is that a country which claims to hold human rights and democratic principles in the highest regard is following in the footsteps of some of the world’s most dictatorial regimes.

When most businesses and services depend on the internet, the frequent internet ban affects the people to such an extent that most of the time people fume in anger once they come to know about prolonged ban on internet by the government.

In such kind of a scenario claiming that schools and offices associated with education will be provided with internet facility seems a joke which one can laugh at and move ahead.

Banning the internet services has become a favorite past time of the establishment in the state. When the proposed ban on internet services was being discussed two days back the Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range issued a statement saying that no proposal has been cleared seeking a ban on internet facility in Kashmir ahead of the Hizb Commander Burhan Wani’s anniversary.

However, the IGP’s assertion proved to be short-lived as within a few hours of the statement not only mobile internet was banned but the broadband services too were not left alone. They too were brought into the ambit of ban. 

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