By Ahmad Adil
SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir (AA) - With the communication blockade in Kashmir region entering its 50th day on Monday, the Kashmir Press Club on Monday said the “unreasonable restrictions” are aimed at “gagging the press.”
“The club’s management body during a meeting while discussing the impact of the mobile telephony and internet blackout said that it has severely hampered the work of journalists and the media,” said the Kashmir Press Club spokesman in a statement.
“Journalists are handicapped and unable to get confirmation about the ground situation due to this communication blockade. The restrictions are totally unwarranted and unreasonable [and are] aimed at gagging the Kashmir press.”
Demanding the lifting of the communication blockade, the spokesperson said “there have been several reminders from the club to the government to free the communication of newspaper offices, journalists, and the club itself.”
“But an inordinate delay in restoring the communication confirms the misgiving that the government doesn’t intend to provide an enabling atmosphere for the media to operate in the valley,” the statement said.
According to the spokesperson, the Kashmir Press Club submitted a list of journalists’ cellphone numbers on Sept. 19, so their access can be restored, but “unfortunately no action appears to have been taken over it so far.”
“The KPC reiterates its demand for the government to immediately lift the ban on mobile and internet which will enable the media to function without any hassle in the valley,” the statement said.
The region is facing an unprecedented communication blockade, with journalists and the media’s access to internet and mobile phones curtailed across the region since Aug. 5, when India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
India blocked communications and imposed strict restrictions to thwart any rebellion while political leaders in the region have been detained as right groups repeatedly called on New Delhi to lift the restrictions and release the detainees.
India has said that 93% of restrictions have been eased in the conflict-ridden region, a claim that Anadolu Agency has been unable to verify independently.
India and Pakistan both hold Kashmir in parts and claim it in full. China also controls part of the contested region, but it is India and Pakistan who have fought two wars over Kashmir.