INTERNET SHUTDOWN IN KASHMIR
What’s in news?
Internet was snapped on August 5 in Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of the special status of the State under Article 370, since then, IT hubs in the Valley is struggling for survival.
Internet was snapped after Mehbooba Mufti’s tweets on the afternoon of august 5, hours after connectivity was suspended across the state.
- The future of IT sector workers in Kashmir Valley is in jeopardy because of the prolonged Internet shutdown.
- Around 22,ooo persons are employed in around 500 IT firms.
- Around 1200 work in seven companies in the industrial complex at Rangreth in Budgam district
- The internet connection was never suspended in the IT hub even during the agitation and unrest in 2008, 2010 and 2016.
- The department of telecommunication has strict security compliance norms for IT companies. They have to maintain a logbook of all URLs visited by them and their clients for 6 months.
Internet shut downs so far:
- There have been 10 cases of internet suspensions due to various incidents in J&K valley in 2017. Recently, due to the killing of Amarnath Yatris in Kashmir, internet services were terminated as a precaution.
- In Nagaland, mobile internet services were taken down multiple times from January 30th 2017, as clashes took place between urban local bodies and the state government over reservation in civic body elections.
- Governments in the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana shut down citizens’ internet access and text messaging services just before a verdict was to be released on a high-profile rape case.
- Similarly, due to unrest in Darjeeling over Gorkhaland agitation, web services were taken down.
Why does internet shutdown become a major cause of concern?
- In the 21st century, the Internet has assumed an increasingly important place in our lives.
- From banking to political speech, and from complex medical procedures to the purchase of basic necessities, important aspects of our economic, social, and cultural life now depend upon the Internet.
- Many of the fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution — the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of association, the freedom of trade — are exercised in significant part on the Internet.
- But the growing importance of the Internet in personal life, as well as its growing use to challenge governmental authority, has led to a backlash, where governments attempted to control the Internet in case of any law and order issue.
- The increasing number of government mandated shutdown of Internet access have with serious consequences both for civil rights, and for business.
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