Srinagar: Social & Human Rights Activist From Kashmir Peer Tehleel Manzoor wrote an open letter to the United Nations Secretary-general António Guterres requesting to intervene into this serious issue of Jammu & Kashmir to Restore high-speed 4G internet access to full capacity to enable Jammu and Kashmir residents to be well-informed and to access crucial information; to ensure that journalists and human rights workers have the resources to do their work.
Kashmir has been facing an internet blackout since August 4, 2019, and it is only recently that citizens have gained access to the internet at 2G speed. The current order issued by the Centre following the top court’s ruling states that the speed of the internet will be restricted to 2G till April 3, 2020, after which the order will be pending a review.
COVID-19 is an unprecedented pandemic which has resulted in public health chaos. As of March 31, 2020, the number of cases of COVID-19 in Jammu and Kashmir has reached 55. To fight this global pandemic, timely information is needed which isn’t possible without reasonably high-speed internet access. Restricted internet has led to citizens of the UT, not being able to download informative videos as well as resource material for dissemination of necessary and accurate information, when a lot of rumours and misinformation are doing the rounds. Timely access to information is important for the general public, medical professionals and journalists to fight the pandemic.
There are a number of students, working professionals and other citizens who have been asked to work from home due to the lockdown in view of the coronavirus, and this is possible only if unrestricted access to the internet is allowed.
Subclause (d) of Clause 4 o the Annexure to order no. 40-3/2020 dated 24-03-2020 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs states that telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services, IT and IT-enabled services are exceptions to lock-down for essential services. Functional high-speed internet is a pre-requisite to contain the pandemic as well as to mitigate the damage both in terms of health of the citizens and economy
In the letter, i have requested the United Nations to Kindly intervene into this serious issue of Jammu & Kashmir said Peer Tehleel.