What is the human cost of Kashmir’s internet blackout? – The Stream

Internet service is finally trickling back into Indian-administered Kashmir, after an agonizing 160-day communications blackout. The ban followed India’s controversial decision last August to revoke the region’s semi-autonomous status.

Officials insist the blackout is needed to prevent unrest, but India’s Supreme Court disagrees. It recently ruled that an indefinite suspension is “impermissible” under the constitution.

The effects of the shutdown have been personally and economically devastating for Kashmir’s seven million residents.

The blackout has also made it easier for tens of thousands of soldiers deployed by India last summer to operate with impunity in the Muslim-majority region.

Kashmir’s internet shutdown is considered to be the longest ever for a democracy. But India is no stranger to the practice. It holds the dubious title of internet shutdown capital of the world, after cutting online services in various parts of the country a record 106 times last year.

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