- Limited mobile data to be restored, social media remains blocked
- US urges release of J&K leaders, stresses ‘equal protection’ under CAA
Indian authorities yesterday restored internet in Indian Kashmir after a five-and-a half-month blackout but maintained a block on social media sites.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government imposed a communications blackout in early August when it stripped the portion of Kashmir it controls -- the country’s only Muslim-majority region -- of its partial autonomy.
India also imposed a curfew, sent in tens of thousands of extra troops and detained dozens of Kashmiri political leaders and others, many of whom remain in detention, drawing criticism abroad.
Internet access was restored yesterday but only to 301 government-approved websites that include international news publications and platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.
Mobile phone data access was also restored, although it was limited to slower second-generation (2G) connections.
Meanwhile, a top American diplomat has urged New Delhi to release “political leaders detained without charge” in Kashmir.
“I was pleased to see some incremental steps, including the partial return of internet service in Kashmir,” Alice Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said at a news briefing in Washington DC.
“We also continue to urge the government to permit regular access by our diplomats, and to move swiftly to release those political leaders detained without charge,” the ambassador, who was on a visit to Asian countries and attended a conference in New Delhi, added.
Wells also spoke about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in her briefing, saying that the US stressed on the principle of equal protection under the law.