Kashmir Gets Internet Relief in Exchange of ‘Anti-Misuse’ Bond
Internet connectivity has been restored for companies and governmental institutions in the Kashmir Valley but only under a special bond.
Internet connectivity in the Kashmir Valley has been closed now for at least the last four months. Now that the local administration and the Centre have gradually begun to think of restoring internet connectivity in the Valley, it surely is going to be quite an uphill task. For companies that operate in the Valley, getting back a regular internet connection after a suspension of almost four months involves the mandatory signing of a special bond. This bond requires company owners to declare that the internet connection would be used for “business purposes” alone. They must also be prepared to share all the “contents” and “infrastructure” of the internet as and when requited by the security agencies.
The bond is a complicated one and even while it gives the signing authority the power to use and internet connectivity, it does so amidst severe restrictions. The bond is composed of six points which included the non usage of encrypted files containing ant sort of videos or photos that could be uploaded. It does not allow the usage of social media, Proxies, VPN’s and Wi-fi and mandates age dialling of all USB ports on the network. The companies that sign the bond would be held accountable and responsible if any misuse of the internet takes place or if there is breach of agreement.
On August 5, just hours before the Centre revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two union territories, it suspended all internet connectivity in the area. The Centre stated that this was being done to “prevent any law and order situation.”
To retain our initiative towards free spirited and independent journalism we require your support |Pay Now
On October 12, the government restored all postpaid mobile connectivity but internet connectivity for the ordinary mass continued ti be suspended even after that.
The sources revealed that 100 internet connections have been restored in Kashmir but these belong not to the ordinary civilians but to shops, government offices and agencies. These internet connections have been restored only when their respective authorities took an undertaking.
While internet connectivity for the ordinary civilians of Jammu and Kashmir still looks like a remote project, what remains to be seen is how long it might really take for the Valley to actually revert back to normalcy in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370.
Until internet is restored with all due freedom and the common citizen of Kashmir has easy access to it, life will continue to feel constrained, disempowered and difficult as it is the very foundation of an informed political choice and a tool of critical communication. Restoration of internet connectivity for the common citizen of Kashmir shall be on top of the Centre’s priorities while in keeping with the safety and wellbeing of its people.
Now that you are here...
From bottled water to oxygen cans, not even the basics are free in a market-driven world. Why then, do we take free and independent journalism for granted? We find ourselves at a time when more people like you, are reading and coming out in support of The New Leam’s independent, in-depth and throughly issue based journalism than ever before. From grassroot stories and field-reports, to in-depth analysis of the pertinent political issues of our times, to news on gender, culture and educational issues- The New Leam has been dedicated to bringing out stories that speak out the soul of India and take you beyond the propaganda-filled corridors of mainstream journalism in India. We have made an important choice of keeping our journalism free of vested political interests, commercial funding and influence of partisan stakeholders, so that we can bring forward news and stories based on facts and provide a platform where readers can find information with integrity and a journalism premised on honesty.
Your support to The New Leam is your contribution towards giving a voice to the voiceless, going to the depths of issues that others shy away from and rigorously illuminating the flame of criticality and courage in dark times. We hope that you will come forward to support The New Leam today so that we can keep delivering quality-independent journalism to you and inform public opinion in the right direction. No matter how big or small your contribution may be, it is tremendously important. It takes only a moment, Support The New Leam now!