Amnesty International asks govt to restore 4G services in Kashmir

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 19, 2020

Municipal workers spray disinfectants in Khanyar area, as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, in Srinagar. Photo: Nissar Ahmad   -  The Hindu

Amnesty International India has stated in the official release that the government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir must restore uninterrupted 4G internet services to ensure that people have access to health and safety-related information.

Amnesty International India mentioned in the statement: “With 219,217 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 8,965 deaths and at least 85,742 people having recovered as on 19 March 2020, the world faces one of the greatest pandemic threat of our generation so far.”

According to Amnesty, as of March 19, the Centre has reported 166 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country. Of these, four cases have been confirmed by the government in the UT of J&K. Despite the rising number of cases, the state government of J&K ordered the continued restrictions on full internet services such as restricting the speed to 2G in the region. It added that complete internet shutdown have also been imposed intermittently in certain areas in the guise of security.

Executive Director of the Amnesty International India, Avinash Kumar said in a statement: “There is growing anxiety around the pandemic and unwarranted restrictions on content and dissemination of information only stand to add to the panic.”

He further added that complete shutdown or restricting internet speed or access make it difficult for people to navigate their way through a difficult time further undermining their trust in the authorities. He urged the Centre to adopt a “rights-respecting approach” to protect public health and restore access to 4G speed internet. He noted that the human rights approach must be at the center of all prevention, preparedness, containment, and treatment efforts to protect public health and support the most vulnerable groups.

The state of J&K has recorded its first case of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday. A resident of Khanyar area in Srinagar tested positive for Covid-19, Jammu and Kashmir administration confirmed. According to authorities, the patient had a history of international travel and arrived in India on March 16, as per media reports.

Published on March 19, 2020

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