The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have urged the Indian government to restore access to telecommunications and internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, expressing alarm following a communication blackout in the wake of the revocation of Article 370.
The internet obstruction was reported to have begun earlier in the week, but this was soon followed by a total communication blackout that included the disruption of postpaid mobile services, broadband internet, landline services and mobile voice links across multiple telcos.
The implementation of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in Srinagar is believed to be related to the telecommunications blackout, whereby the gathering of more than four individuals in one location is prohibited.
“A large-scale communication disruption at such a crucial time for Kashmir is an egregious violation of citizens’ rights to information from a free press,” said Aliya Iftikhar, who is a senior researcher for CPJ’s Asia program.
Iftikar also called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “guarantee that all communication blocks in Kashmir are lifted”. The Home Ministry of India, who is responsible for the governance of Jammu and Kashmir, has yet to respond officially to the backlash.