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Communication blackout continues in Kashmir as India celebrates Eid

Internet shutdown in Kashmir continues on the eighth day as reports of protests continue to emerge but there have been indications of relaxing restrictions.

Vijay Gokhale, Foreign Secretary, told Bloomberg that when the government discerns that the law and order situation has improved, restrictions will be gradually phased out. He also mentions the situation remains sensitive as there are two major events — Eid and Independence Day — this week.

Earlier this month, Internet services in Kashmir have been suspended as the Modi-led NDA government moves to revoke Article 370 and has also imposed section 144, which bans an assembly of more than five people in public.

According to a report by The Guardian, “there were signs” that curfew has been eased in Srinagar.

Section 144 was eased in some parts of the valley, although it is still imposed in sensitive areas. Jammu and Kashmir administration says that special provisions like 300 telephone booths and services like ATMs, banks along with several markets will remain open on Monday, according to India Today. However, these claims haven’t been verified yet.

On Friday last week, thousands of protesters reportedly took to the streets as shown by a BBC video, which was later refuted by the Indian Government.

The now revoked Article 370 contained special provisions for Jammu and Kashmir, which gives it the right to a separate constitution. Furthermore, the Center’s power is limited to only three areas, which are defence, foreign affairs and communication. The article also gave the State government the power to give concurrence to the Centre in case the Central Government wants to extend other constitutional powers to the State.  Repealing Article 370 revokes the aforementioned special powers to the state of J&K.

Jammu and Kashmir has had a long history of internet shutdowns over the past several years. According to this Poynter’s report, India saw a total of 134 shutdowns in 2018, 47% of which happened in Jammu and Kashmir.

Also read: Is Chrome becoming a surveillance software for Google?

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