Internet, rail service remains suspended

Srinagar: Internet service of all cellular companies, including the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Broadband, remained suspended for the second day today, where separatists have given a strike call on the first death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani.
The internet services were suspended yesterday as a precautionary measure to prevent spread of any rumours on the social media. However, suspension of the facility has led to spreading of more rumours, besides badly affecting mediapersons, professionals and students in Kashmir valley.
Authorities had yesterday directed all cellular companies to suspend mobile internet services till further orders. Meanwhile, broadband internet service providers were given option to either block all social media sites, if possible or else, suspend the services.
“In view of the apprehensions of misuse of internet services by the anti-national elements, which is likely to cause deterioration of law and order situation, you are directed to block all social media sites on lease line. If it is not possible, shutdown the services in Kashmir till further orders,” directions sent to broadband service providers by Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Munir Ahmad Khan read.
The curb on internet came in response to a strike called by both the factions of Hurriyat Conference (HC) and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) on the death anniversary of Burhan, who was killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir on this day, last year.
Killing of Burhan triggered massive clashes, which lasted for over six months and left 100 civilians dead and thousands others injured in security force action. About 2,500 security force personnel were also injured in these clashes. Mobile internet was restored for a couple of hours yesterday, when both the Houses of J&K Legislature passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, following which it was implemented in the state from midnight yesterday.
The broadband internet service of BSNL and a private operated CNS, which is mostly used by the media organisations, remained suspended, forcing mediapersons, working with national and international organisations, to file GST-related stories over the phone or by arranging mobile internet connections.
Due to the suspension of internet service, media organisations and majority of national and international newspapers and other organisations, have been badly hit.
Ban on internet has also hit professionals and students, besides doctors.
“I work for an international company as a freelancer and now that internet has again been suspended, I will not be able to meet the deadlines set for my projects.
This is not the first time that it happened. During the unrest in 2016, internet was suspended for over five months, during which I was forced to relocate to Delhi.
“I guess, I will move out permanently, if the government keeps suspending internet services,” a worried Ajaz Saleem, who works for an MNC as a freelancer, said.
During the last three months, mobile internet services have been suspended thrice in the valley for about four weeks. The mobile internet services for post-paid connections were suspended for about five months last year following violence triggered by the death of Burhan on this day last year.
Similarly, mobile internet services for prepaid connections were restored in Kashmir on January 27, six months after they were suspended.
Meanwhile, the telecast of news on local cable channels in Kashmir remained banned since 2010, when there were massive protests, during which more than 120 people, mostly youths, were killed in security force and police firing in the Valley.
The authorities had also directed the bureaucrats and other officers not to participate in any political debate on local cable channels.
Meanwhile the train service remain suspended in Kashmir valley for the second day today for security reasons.
Though there was no strike call yesterday, the authorities decided to suspend the train service for security reasons.
However today, both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) have called for strike on the first death anniversary of Burhan Wani of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).
“We have been directed to suspend the train service in the valley for security reasons,” a Railway official said today.
The railway service remain suspended for the second day today in the valley, following direction by civil authorities and police, a Railway official said.
There will be no train today between Srinagar-Badgam in the central Kashmir and Baramulla in north Kashmir, he said, adding that the train service from Badgam-Srinagar and Anantnag-Qazigund in south Kashmir to Banihal in Jammu has also been suspended.
The decision to resume train service will be taken only after receiving green signal from the authorities, he said.
“We are acting on the directions of the state police and authorities, who are taking the decision to suspend or resume train service, keeping in view the security and safety of the passengers and railway property,” he added.
Railway property suffered damage worth crores of rupees in the past due to violence. However last year, the service remained suspended for six months due to summer unrest.