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Parent Category: Library
Category: Opinion and Analysis

 

 

By Mumtaz Saley

22 January 2020

 

It has been dubbed the longest internet blackout in history and has caused the Kashmir economy to collapse. Most businesses rely on e-commerce for sales and now had to find ways to stay online to keep families fed. 

The train from the main city of Srinagar travels to a town called Banihal daily to a government-controlled internet café. This train has been dubbed by locals as the "Internet Express".  The Internet Express is the most crowded train in the region as many commute daily, to access the internet to make living.

A small store with the longest queue, as everyone pushes to get inside, the shop is filled with diesel fumes from the generator that is operational during the endless power cuts in the area. 

Indian-administrated Kashmir has been without mobile data service and broadband since August 2019, the only way to get onto the internet in the area is to visit the local government-controlled internet shops which offer internet services which are monitored at a steep cost of $4.20 an hour. 

Despite the UN declaring that the internet a basic human right, internet shutdowns have risen in recent years as governments feel that this is in the best interest of national security and public safety. 

The lockdown has cost the economy more than $2.4 billion since August 2019.