The internet was turned on in Kashmir after the death of separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on the night of Jan.

The internet outage was also confirmed by NetBlocks, a global internet monitor. This comes months after 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir were fully restored for the first time since 2019, when they were suspended prior to the lifting of J & K’s special status.

Kumar told ANI and Reuters that the Internet was switched off as a precaution and that restrictions on public traffic were also imposed in the Kashmir Valley for the time being. MediaNama tried to contact Kumar, Baramulla DIG Sujit Kumar, Anantnag DIG Abdul Jabbar, and Srinagar DIG Amit Kumar. This report will be updated as soon as we receive a response to our inquiries.

The mobile internet was closed around 12 o’clock at night and then an hour late, the broadband and fiber optic connections were shut down. A few hours later, the call and SMS service was closed. At the moment there is no way to communicate with the people there – Tanzeel Khan, a Bengaluru software engineer with a family in Kashmir, told MediaNama

Khan said that only call services from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) worked in the valley. However, he said very few people in Kashmir have a BSNL SIM card.

Confirmation of development, NetBlocks in a report Said, “Specs show an interruption in access to India’s Internet backbone as of Wednesday at around 7:30 PM UTC, confirming the reported network restrictions associated with the region’s Internet shutdowns recorded in the past, including the prolonged Internet shutdown in Kashmir in August 2019, match. “

NetBlocks said the disruption affected cellular and landline services. “Connectivity in the Srinagar area is reported to be 31% of its normal peak, so some services may remain available to certain users,” she added.

How does NetBlocks detect network failures? NetBlocks said it uses so-called “NetBlocks diffscans”, which are able to map a country’s IP address space in real time and show the level of Internet connection and corresponding outages. Netblocks said that “deliberate Internet outages” have a unique network pattern that it observes to determine and map the root cause of an outage.

At a time when the Internet is an integral part of people’s lives, shutting it down for political reasons or as a security measure causes massive disruption and can be seen as a restriction on freedom of expression.

Internet was only recently fully restored at J&K after 1.5 years

Since the suspension of communications services in Jammu and Kashmir on April 4th, 4G services have been restored in parts of Union territory for almost a year after their suspension.

Fixed line services were only allowed to resume operation at the end of January 2020, while mobile data was switched to 2G speed. Access was limited to a whitelist of 301 websites and access to social media websites was not made possible until March 2020. Since then, 4G internet has been restored on an experimental basis in two districts – Udhampur and Ganderbal.

Read MediaNama’s ground reports on the impact of the internet shutdown in Kashmir

We don’t have any data on Internet shutdowns: India

The Ministry of Communications recently informed Lok Sabha that the Indian government does not keep any data on Internet shutdowns in the country as the police and public order are state areas.

Police and public order are subjects of the state under the Seventh Appendix to the Constitution, and states are responsible and empowered to issue orders to temporarily suspend Internet service in order to maintain law and order in the state or part of it in accordance with the provisions of the temporary suspension of telecommunications Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017. The Ministry of the Interior (MHA) has announced that records of state / UT-ordered Internet shutdowns are not centrally maintained by MHA – Minister of Communications Devusinh Chauhan

This refusal to provide data on internet shutdowns came a few months after India signed a statement by the Group of Seven (G7) condemning, among other things, “politically motivated internet shutdowns”, as announced by the State Department.

Internet Shutdowns: A Look At Past Incidents

  • In August, Internet services in Shillong have been suspended due to incidents of violence were reported in the state following the death of a former militant.
  • March, Internet services have ceased in Bhainsa, a city in northern Telanganan after communal clashes. Mobile internet has been locked in the city to prevent people from sharing content that could make the situation worse.
  • The Ministry of the Interior ordered the telecommunications providers to Shutdown of internet services in Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur in January 2021 to “maintain public safety and avert the public emergency” amid farmers’ protests. The internet was blocked in these areas from 11pm on January 29th to 11pm on January 31st. Telecommunications sources have confirmed to MediaNama that they have received the order from the Ministry of Interior.
  • The government of Haryana has discontinued internet and text messaging services in several areas of the state after clashes between farmers and law enforcement agencies in Delhi in January. The closure was ordered in Sonipat, Palwal and Jhajjar districts and was in effect on January 27 at 5 p.m. The government claimed it would shut down these services in order to contain misinformation about the clashes, which could be spread via social media platforms or text messages.
  • Internet services have been discontinued in several areas of the National Capital Territory on January 26 following clashes between farmers (who protested the proposed agricultural laws) and law enforcement agencies. The order issued by the Interior Ministry said that Internet services in Singhu, Ghazipur, Tikri, Mukarba Chowk, Nangloi and “adjacent areas” have been suspended.
  • The government of Rajasthan in November Mobile Internet services discontinued in several parts of Jaipur District in the wake of the ongoing Gujjar agitation. The mobile internet was switched off for 24 hours on November 2nd from 5:00 p.m. in the Tehsils (blocks) of Kotputli, Paota, Shahpura, Viratnagar, Jamwaramgarh, Phagi, Madhorajpura, Dudu and Mojmabad. All internet services with the exception of broadband services have been switched off.
  • Rajasthan has shut down the internet in four counties – Dungarpur, Udaipur, Banswara and Pratapgarh – in September 2020, after violent protests broke out in Dungarpur district, the Hindustan Times reported reported. Hundreds of tribal youths reportedly blocked the No. 8 National Road in Dungarpur, demanding that over 1,100 unreserved government teacher positions be filled with ST candidates.

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