At a time when frequent internet bans have become a regular trend here, Kashmir has witnessed suspension of both mobile and broadband internet services 10 times between April, 2017 and July 13. This year interestingly from January to April, there were no Internet suspensions.
Internet was also suspended once in Jammu recently as a precautionary measure following the killing of Amarnath pilgrims in an attack.
The first internet ban in Kashmir this year was imposed on April 8 when mobile and Broadband services were shutdown from midnight in Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam districts ahead of the Srinagar Parliamentary seat bypoll. However, the restriction on Internet services was extended to the entire Kashmir valley on April 9 and was in force till April 12 till the proposed Anantnag by-poll.
The next internet ban was imposed by authorities on April 13 when broadband services were suspended in view of re-polling in 38 stations of Budgam district.
On April 17, mobile internet services were ordered to be suspended as students across Kashmir held protests against the clashes between students and police in Pulwama district. Moreover, social media websites were ordered to be restricted even on broadband service.
Mobile internet services were suspended again on May 27 following the killing of Hizb commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat by government forces in Tral.
Following the killing of a civilian, Adil Ahmad in Shopian district on June 6, authorities cut off high speed mobile internet services on June 7.
Again on June 16 authorities blocked high speed mobile internet and reduced speed of Broadband in Kashmir after killing of a youth Naseer Ahmad in Rangreth at city outskirts.
Mobile internet services were suspended on July 1 after clashes between militants and government forces at Brenthi in Dialgam.
Both mobile and broadband internet services were suspended in Kashmir on July 8 ahead of the first death anniversary of Hizb commander Burhan Wani. While the 2G mobile internet services were restored on the night of July 8, broadband services were restored in the morning of July 9.
Both mobile and broadband services were again suspended in the Kashmir Valley in the night of 10 July as a “precautionary measure” after the appeal of joint resistance leadership to people for launching a “Kashmir awareness” campaign on social media on July 11.
The latest Internet curb came into effect on July 12 when mobile internet services were suspended in entire Kashmir Valley after killing of 3 militants in Redbug Budgam district.
To mention, according to Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) mobile service providers suffered losses worth Rs 180 crore during the 3 months of complete communication ban with daily losses of almost Rs 2 crore when both calling and data services were banned in Kashmir.
Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC), a Delhi-based not-for-profit organisation in its recently released figures had claimed that internet services were shut 38 times in J&K between 2012 till July 10, 2017.[“Source-greaterkashmir.”]