India to ease mobile phone shutdown in occupied Kashmir

Services to be restored from noon Monday, claims Indian official

Afp October 12, 2019
A security personnel stands guard on a street during a lockdown in Srinagar. PHOTO: AFP

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR: Most mobile phone connections in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) will be restored, the Indian government said on Saturday after it imposed a shutdown of more than two months since ending the disputed region's autonomy on August 5.

Indian government spokesman Rohit Kansal said the decision had been taken after a review of events in the restive Himalayan region.

PM Imran warns of massive uprising in IOK

"All post-paid mobile phones irrespective of the telecom service provider will stand restored and be functional from noon on Monday," he told a press conference.

He added that the measure would apply to all districts of occupied Kashmir.

In the two months since India scrapped Article 370 which granted special autonomy to IOK, the Modi government has been widely censured for imposing complete information and communications blackout in the occupied valley.

While Indian media insists the situation in the occupied region is ‘normal’, international media and organisations have reported grave human rights violations, including arrests and enforced disappearances of children and political leaders.

They have also exposed the underreporting of deaths of Kashmiris killed by the occupying Indian forces.

Earlier this month, US Senator Chris Van Hollen was denied permission to visit the occupied region. “If the Indian government has nothing to hide, they should not worry about people visiting Kashmir and witnessing the situation with their own eyes,” emphasised the senator.

Van Hollen is one of nearly 50 members of a bipartisan group of US senators, who have urged President Donald Trump to immediately intervene and persuade Modi to lift the curfew and end the communication blockade in IOK.

Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris have also highlighted the humanitarian crisis in IOK, while the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has also asked New Delhi to lift the curfew and release detainees.

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