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Kashmir’s Internet Siege

Authors: Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh, Vasundhra Kaul, Misbah Reshi, and Mehroosh Shah

Affiliation: Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society

Organization/Publisher: Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society

Date/Place: August 2020/Kashmir

Type of Literature: Report

Number of Pages: 125

Link: https://jkccs.net/report-kashmirs-internet-siege/

Keywords: Kashmir, Pakistan, India, Communications Blockade in Kashmir, Indian Military Occupation of Kashmir, Human Rights

Brief:

This comprehensive and groundbreaking report on India’s inhuman measures of political oppression in Indian-occupied Kashmir through communications blockade was prepared by Srinagar-based Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). The report exposes how the internet siege is being imposed by the Indian state as a form of “collective punishment” in the UN-designated disputed region. It details the de facto communications blockade imposed since August 5, 2019 in the Kashmir region by India as “digital apartheid” – a form of systemic and pervasive discriminatory treatment and collective punishment. Terming it a violation of international human rights law as well as the laws of armed conflict, the report identifies the communications blockade as political repression that serves as a deliberate means of severing social, economic, and political connections between Kashmiris, while also isolating them from the world. The report gives a timeline of how India curbed communication lines in Kashmir and it identifies harassment of journalists and social media users. The report notes how India enforces network disruption and state control over access to the internet. These disruptions disproportionately target essential civilian services and supplies, adversely impact human rights, and preemptively silence all forms of online speech. Divided into six chapters, the report shows how the communications blockade attacks livelihood, health services, education, justice delivery system, press freedoms, and social participation due to the direct impact and chilling effects of online surveillance and profiling; criminal sanctions and police complaints have been registered against working journalists and over 200 social media and VPN users. Urging the international community to speak up and call out India for suppressing the fundamental rights of Kashmiris, the report says it is a testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who refuse to be silenced.


By: Riyaz ul Khaliq, CIGA Non-Resident Research Associate

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