For more than a month, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been living in a communications blackout enacted by the Indian government.
On 5 August the Government of India stripped the Kashmir region of its special autonomy and shut down all phone and internet access. The government now has near-total control over the information coming out of Kashmir, a place which has witnessed serious human rights violations in the past.
The blackout affects the daily lives of Kashmir’s people: their emotional and mental well-being, as well as their access to medical care, basic necessities and emergency services.
Now with reports of mass arrests and detentions, torture of civilians and the soldiers using tear gas, rubber bullets and pellet guns against protesters, we have grave concerns of human rights violations happening without the world’s knowledge.
Families are desperate to contact each other and ensure the wellbeing of young and aged relatives, as many are locked in their homes. Outside of Kashmir, their friends and family are worried: they have only heard stories of curfews, protests, medical emergencies and police violence.
As India continues to block the Kashmiri people’s voices with no end date in sight, it’s isolating people from their loved ones and fueling fear and insecurity.
Together we must stand up for Kashmir’s right to be heard, and to freely communicate with friends, family and the rest of the world. Demand the Indian Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik, immediately lift the communications blackout in Kashmir.