Article 370: Kashmir Press Club demands for lifting communication blockade

Published: Sep 04, 2019, 09:47 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

The KPC issued a statement saying the blockade has affected mobile phones, Internet and phone landlines, making it difficult for them to file stories

Security personnel patrol a street during restrictions to maintain law and order, in Srinagar. Pic/PTI
Security personnel patrol a street during restrictions to maintain law and order, in Srinagar. Pic/PTI

The Kashmir Press Club (KPC) asked the authorities to end the communication blackout in the valley in a statement released on Tuesday, adding that some journalists have allegedly been asked to vacate their government accommodation.

The KPC also said communication blockade has affected mobile phones, Internet and phone landlines. At present, a makeshift media facilitation centre has been operational where journalists have to wait in queues for long hours for their turn to file stories, it said.

"The centre is equipped with only five computers and a low speed Internet connection," the statement read. The communication blockade in the valley came into effect on August 5 after the government revoked Article 370 and Article 35 (A) that granted Jammu and Kashmir special status.

Also Read: Maharashtra government looking to open resort, other facilities in Kashmir, Ladakh

According to IANS, despite the blackout, communication channels are open among separatists as well as local terrorists via several offline chat apps and highly-encrypted anonymous chat platform Tor, that are security agencies and authorities giving a hard time in Jammu and Kashmir.

Popular among terrorist networks and anti-government protesters globally, Tor is said to prevent people from tracing location or spying on users' browsing habits. The Indian government has completely shut down the telephone lines and Internet services in the Valley, but people in various ways, are trying numerous circumvention tools to avoid the web blockade.

"Off-the-grid" chat apps are also likely being used in the Valley to communicate with one another via smartphones within a range of up to 100-200 metres -- by broadcasting encrypted data via Wi-Fi or bluetooth.

With inputs from IANS

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