In occupied Kashmir, no respite for the people as the authorities continue to impose restrictions and communication blackout in Kashmir valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu region on the 60th straight day, today.
The residents continue to live in a state of fear due to heavy deployment of Indian troops in every nook and corner of the occupied territory. The people of the Kashmir valley and Muslim-majority areas of Jammu region continue to live in a pre-communication era as there are no mobile phone and internet services.
Although landlines have been restored in certain areas but they are less in number as compared to cell phones. Main markets are shut. Offices and educational institutions though open but hardly anyone turns up there. In the absence of public transport a place few kilometers away seems like another country where reaching also involves crossing of security barricades which are in abundance in the territory.
Due to the communications blockade, there is little information flowing from one part of the valley to its other parts and that is adding to the prevalent anxiety and fear.
Even though local newspapers publish daily, but they are reduced now to a few pages only and mainly carrying government’s version of events as well as pieces on apolitical issues. In the absence of internet, most of the newspapers are unable to update their online editions since August 5.
As communication clampdown persists, the hospitals have turned out to be the worst hit with hundreds of tasks, including the clearance of cases under different health schemes, lie pending.
Various hospitals over the period have requested the administration to allow them to at least have a lease line so that they can have an internet connection to clear various cases, but so far, their recurring requests have fallen on deaf ears and resultantly patients are suffering badly.
A hospital administrator told media that they have constantly been asking the concerned authorities to consider their case for having a lease line at the hospital. “But they have so far given us a cold shoulder. We have been caught in a quandary as we cannot turn down the patients, but at the same time, we are not able to process their cases,” he said.
On the other hand, since August 5, areas around Mughal Gardens along the Dal lake, a hub of Kashmir tourism, wear a deserted look, something which had not been seen in the past three decades. There are no taxis carrying tourists or shikaras floating in the lake. Hotels on the either sides of the Boulevard road are vacant.
An official said that Mughal Gardens had not seen any tourist post abrogation of special status of occupied Kashmir by India.