JKCCS terms curbs on internet as ‘digital apartheid

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Aug 25: Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) today termed the ongoing curbs on the internet as ‘digital apartheid’ and said that it enacts a systemic and pervasive discriminatory treatment.
In a press statement issued here, the JKCCS said that the curbs on the internet are violations of international human rights law as well as the laws of armed conflict.
“The siege is a means of political repression that serves as a deliberate means of severing social, economic and political connections between Kashmiris, while also isolating them from the world,” it said.
For the already vulnerable people of Jammu & Kashmir, it said, this siege is enforced by various modes of network disruption and state control over access to the internet.
“These disruptions disproportionately target essential civilian supplies and services, adversely impact human rights and preemptively silence all forms of online speech,” it said.
Recent Supreme Court judgments did not end the digital siege of Kashmir.
“Instead they have inaugurated a new legalised regime of mass surveillance, filtering, and internet-speed throttling through expansive executive orders. These orders are issued every two weeks, and from January 2020 until now a total of 17 such extension orders have been issued,” JKCCS said.
It said that alongside routine extensions of internet restrictions, frequent complete suspensions of mobile internet connectivity through emergency police orders have also continued unabated.
“Since January 2020, when partial 2G internet connectivity was first restored, 70 such temporary suspension orders have been issued.”
JKCCS also released a report which has deliberated upon various aspects of the curbs on the internet and how it affected various sectors.
This report is a missive addressed to the human rights and digital rights community about the breadth and forms of this collective punishment. It is also a testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, who refuse to be silenced,” JKCCS said.

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