Kashmir's communication blackout is a ‘devastating blow’ for academics, researchers say

Science | AAAS | 9/19/2019 | Staff
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Six professors from India’s top science institutions have appealed to the government to lift the blockade of academic and research institutions in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The blockade has been a "devastating blow," the six write in an open letter published yesterday.

Like the rest of India's only majority-Muslim state, Kashmir's academic community has been cut off almost entirely from the rest of the world since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government abolished the state's special status on 5 August. “We call upon the government to lift the blackout at these institutions right away and take all steps possible to help members of the Kashmiri academic community to make up for these lost weeks,” the researchers write.

Kashmir - Source - Tension - Decades - India

Kashmir has been a source of tension for decades. India and Pakistan have fought four wars over the region and India accuses Pakistan of fomenting secessionism in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the part administered by India. After unilaterally ending the state's special status, which included limited autonomy, the Indian government has split the region into three administrative territories, Jammu (which has a Hindu majority), Kashmir (predominantly Muslim) and Ladakh (where Buddhists and Shia Muslims are in the majority).

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Revolts - Kashmir - Valley - Curfew - Phone

To prevent revolts, the entire Kashmir valley was put under strict curfew. Phone lines and the internet were disconnected. (Landline phone service was later restored, but most people in the state use mobile phones.) Schools, colleges, and the universities were closed. Most local politicians, including those who support the Indian government, have been jailed, along with thousands of civilians. India's military now controls the state completely, and there have been many reports of human rights abuses, which the Indian government has vehemently denied.

“Everything has come to a grinding halt,” says one senior scientist living in Kashmir who asked not to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Science | AAAS
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