Traders claim heavy losses due to web ban

Adil Lateef
Srinagar, Sept 28: In a major relief to people, the internet services were fully resorted across Kashmir valley today morning after 59-hour long blanket ban but the police throughout the day were maintaining strict vigil on web including social networking sites while as the routine activities resumed in the region after three days of Eid celebrations and most of the separatists detained ahead of Eid were also released.
Nearly after 14 hours of restoration of broadband internet, the mobile web was restored today morning at 10 am across the region. The restoration came as a major sigh of relief for people who were feeling choked from past three days. Cheering lifting of internet ban, the netizens instantly took to different social networking sites and showed their presence but at the same time criticized the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition Government over the ban particularly when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is campaigning for digital India in United States of America and holding meetings with top executives of internet giants.
Although the internet was restored and Eid celebrations were also over but the police were closely monitoring internet and social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter as well as WhatsApp. A top officer posted in Srinagar’s Cyber police station told Excelsior that they were monitoring all web platforms throughout the day. “So far no one has been arrested or detained for spreading rumors or uploading provocative images or videos. But we assure you that if anyone resorts to any such act, we will get him within an hour,” the official said.
The police had already warned those “misusing” the internet of strict action under various Sections including Unlawful Activities Act and Informational Technology Act. Apparently due to police monitoring and pressure, the officials didn’t register any case under the previous acts from any part of the Valley.
Meanwhile, the Eid-ul-Adha celebrations in the Valley were over today and people resumed their routine activities across the region. All the shops, commercial establishments, Government offices, educational institutes were open in all the districts of Valley including in city here while transport also plied normally on all routes.
The Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) – a trade amalgam – headed by Mohammad Yasin Khan today said there was 70 percent business loss due to internet shutdown in Valley. Khan, who is also president of Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), said that the business was badly hit due to internet ban.
“I must inform you that there was 70 percent loss to business during web ban days. We are living in 21st century and now the business entirely depends on internet. The compulsions vis-à-vis law and order situation apart but the internet shouldn’t have been banned,” he said, and termed the move as “biggest human rights violation”.
Police, meanwhile, released majority of separatist leaders and activists, who were detained ahead of Eid. Official sources said the curbs on moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yasin Malik were lifted today. But, a spokesman of hardline Hurriyat faction said the conglomerate chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and two other leaders which include Shabir Ahmad Shah and Nayeem Ahmad Khan continued to remain under house detention.

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