Destroying the low hanging fruit*

Today marks the 268th day of the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir and yet again the government on Monday extended ban on 4G mobile internet in Jammu and Kashmir which will continue till May 11. The principal secretary of the Home Department stated that there is no other alternative but to continue with 2G internet without any speed restrictions.

The order issued by the Home Department stated “spurt of militant violence”, “guarding against rumor mongering, fake news, nefarious designs from across the border” as reasons to have extended the internet restrictions. Such reasoning only exposes the true intention of the Indian state, as rumor mongering or spreading of fake news is not a problem limited to Kashmir but one that has become a part of social media globally. But in no part of the world or in India for that matter has internet been restricted to 2G connection. Similarly, attributing cross border terrorism and spread of militancy to the use of internet alone is only laughable, as the peak of militancy in Kashmir was during a time when internet was not easily accessible to all. But, history and learning from it has never been the strength of any occupier state.

When the Indian state is shamelessly using a pandemic lockdown as its refuge to book activists, journalists and anyone who questions its brutal measure, it comes as no surprise that the order mentions misuse of data services by the “anti-national elements” has the potential to scale up violent activities and disturb public order.

The internet shut down in Kashmir is nothing but yet another nefarious tactic by the Indian state to further repress the people of Kashmir. It is a shame that the Indian state continues to use the logic of "guarding against rumour and spread of militancy" to hold an entire population captive. 

This unprecedented and longest internet shutdown is nothing but criminal, more so during a pandemic.
What the Indian state fails to understands is that by continuing its brutal measures of occupation it is only creating a situation that it so claims to prevent.