Govt must listen

Published at July 07, 2018 03:22 AM 0Comment(s)2232views

Govt must listen

The police on Thursday clarified that mobile internet services will not be suspended in Kashmir. The speculations that made rounds in the valley were refuted by police as mere rumours. Blockade of internet services in Kashmir, which has become more frequent in the last few years, may not be a good solution. Authorities have been defending the curbs imposed on the services from time to time as a necessary measure to control deteriorating law and order situation in Kashmir. As per reports, the internet services were suspended 29 times last year. Suspension of services, although it was observed earlier also, has become a routine after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016. Blockade of services in the more disruptive areas is not even reported at times. Law enforcement agencies have been facing precarious situations in the wake of civilian killings and counter-insurgency operations. The protests often spread from one area to another. Authorities believe the internet services or the social media to be precise act as catalysts in the snowballing of the protests. As a precautionary or necessary measure, they resort to the snapping of services in affected areas or impose a blanket ban in Kashmir region. It affects almost everyone who uses internet services in the region, including the traders and business community. This curfew or shutdown imposed on online media and internet services needs to be used as the last resort and not as the knee-jerk response which it has become lately. The clampdown, as we have maintained, further shrinks the space and leads to disquiet than ease up the situation. Instead of listening to the angry youth, the government has been shutting all doors on them. Political engagement is completely ruled out and coercive measures are taken to control the situation. With the result the situation repeats as a cycle with more protests, agitations and the government’s knee-jerk response. It is obvious that the youth use social media platforms to speak out. Instead of banning the media, the government must reach out to them and listen to what they have to say. The government apparently believes in outsourcing the job of political engagement to those representatives who are sent to the state to talk to the youth and agitating persons. Some efforts must be made by the local government as well to substantiate the bids to restore peace in Kashmir. 





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