PULWAMA: Internet users here in southern Kashmir continue to face difficulties with back to back 2G internet suspension in the region where 4G internet has yet to restored after the Indian Parliament scrapped Article 370 last August.

Frequent internet suspensions are giving a tough time to the students, business owners and others who depend on it, and are unable to work or study whenever an internet blackout is imposed.

In the first half of December the internet remained suspended for around seven days, leaving people dismayed and expressing resentment against the government’s back to back suspension orders.

Netizens rued that whenever DDC (District Development Council) polling happens in any part of south Kashmir, internet service is barred in the whole region, obstructing the routine work of many people.

Syed Aijaz, a senior journalist told The Citizen that he travels miles to get a wifi connection that will let him file stories, whenever the internet disappears.

With high speed internet yet to be restored after more than a year, he said the low internet speeds even when the internet is allowed to function are beginning to irk people.

Said Aijaz, “If internet services remain suspended in the wake of polls, it should barred for a limited period of time, and only in those districts or tehsil headquarters where elections are scheduled.”

“I agree with the security reason and concerns of the administration and police, but keeping internet suspended in all the places is not fair, particularly when it’s operating with 2G. 4G is already barred for more than a year now, because of security concerns, so low speed internet should at least be made available, with limited suspension, if needed,” he said.

The internet is a basic right of everyone, Aijaz added, used in each and every sector whether education, business or banking.

Students are victim to frequent internet blackouts, especially after the pandemic with classes going online, requiring everyone to have internet so they can keep up.

An engineering student from Pulwama district, who studies at a Tamil Nadu college, said she usually misses class as the internet is suspended suddenly without any prior intimation.

“It obviously affects the teaching learning process and puts all the students in a mess,” she said.

Teachers are also worried, with the online mode of communication now mandatory.

According to Khursheed Ahmad, a teacher in Tral, “We as teachers suffer a lot due to internet suspension. We are to go for training on the DIKSHA app in which courses are to be completed within the stipulated time, but when there is unexpected internet suspension, we are not able to complete it.”

Ahmad further said that after completing the course they get a certificate for each module, “but that is also not generated sometimes” given the internet problems.

Local resident Sahil Ahmad said he too is concerned about the back to back internet suspensions “as it affects not only students but other people in society as well.”

He said the internet should only be suspended in areas where it’s absolutely necessary, not in the whole region.

Cover Photo: BASIT ZARGAR for The Citizen