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Frequent internet shutdowns in Pulwama angers inhabitants

Internet services have been shutdown in Pulwama and Shopian districts of south Kashmir from the last week, evoking anger from the residents.
The shutdown has badly impacted thousands of students, job aspirants and those their users who avail the a service for e-commerce and banking.
Job aspirants who want to apply for different openings in government or private sector across India are aghast with the administration and police for closing down the internet facility.
“It has been a week now that I am not able to access internet. Since I am not able to access internet or email, I don’t have any information about the status of the job that I had applied for in a multinational company in New Delhi. I may miss an opportunity of working. And all this is because of suppressive attitude of the government,” Idrees, a young MBA graduate in Pulwama said.
Inayat, another young student, said that students like him are not able to apply for scholarships and other academic opportunities due to internet ban.
A group of students said that they are not able to apply for different jobs applications through SSC, UPSC or other recruiting agencies due to the ban.
“It is pure injustice and curbing of Right to Freedom and Speech by shutting down the internet. Nowhere in the world internet is banned even in adverse situations and conflicts. In Syria where war is ongoing, authorities have never banned internet. Astonishingly, internet ban is an easy and suppressive tool of the government in our state, especially in Pulwama district,” Tahir, a research scholar in Pulwama, said.
The authorities in Pulwama district say that internet ban has been imposed after encounter between militants and security forces in Saigund village in Shopian on January 26.
The residents said that the district has not seen any protests after the encounter, yet the authorities have banned the internet facility.
Residents are angry with the four PDP legislators elected from four Assembly segments- Tral, Pulwama, Pampore and Rajpora-of the district for not taking up the matter of frequent internet bans with the security establishment.
“Why are our MLAs silent when our fundamental democratic right is denied to us? They should raise it up in the ongoing assembly session,” the residents said.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Muhammad Dar said that he has taken up the matter with the higher ups of police for restoring the internet.
Police officials in the district said that the decision of snapping internet is taken at the higher level and not at the district level.

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