The death of Kashmir’s popular pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has worked well for the state-owned BSNL with people rushing to clear their pending dues. Only BSNL mobile phones and landlines were operational amid the ongoing two-day communications blackout in the Valley aimed to prevent protests or gathering of people for his funeral.
For the past two days, BSNL offices were seen crowded with subscribers to clear their dues and get their defunct phones restored. Mubashir Ahmad Wani, one of the customers who had approached the BSNL fee counter at Soura, returned disappointed as the employee entrusted for collecting payments had not arrived to office till 10:30 am.
“I had come to pay bill of my landline telephone of past two months so that we can be able to communicate,” he said.
Many others who stood waiting for the billing counter to open were, however, apprehensive about officials making it in time because of strict restrictions in Srinagar.
Though the state-owned company’s landline and broadband services are outdated, they still are the only available mode of communication during government-imposed communication blackouts in the Valley. Geelani too had an active landline connection which somehow was operational briefly when Jammu and Kashmir was reeling under complete communications blackout in the face of abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019. The move resulted in suspension of two BSNL employees.