72 days of silence, and now come a series of peaceful protests

Amidst some relief in wake of the partial lifting of the communication blackout in Kashmir, also emerging are several heartbreaking stories. Meanwhile, voices of dissent are growing louder.

Post paid mobile services were restored in Kashmir on Monday after the state was placed under a communication black out for over 72 days. However, on the same day SMS services were stopped at about 5 PM, reportedly as a “precautionary measure”. Officials told Times of India that over 25 lakh prepaid mobile phones and other internet services including WhatsApp remain deactivated.

Meanwhile, in a heartbreaking Facebook post journalist Irfan Rashid shared how he was finally able to establish contact with a dear friend after 70 days, only to learn she had died 40 days ago!

Rashid’s post went viral eliciting condolenses and support, but in his grief it appears Rashid is taking a break from social media as his profile is no longer visible.

Voices of dissent
Women’s groups held a protest at Pratap Park near Srinagar’s Lal Chowk, but the police swooped in and detained the protesters. Among those detained included former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdulla’s sister Suraiya Abdullah and daughter Safia Abdullah Khan. Suraiya told reporters, “On August 5, we were locked inside our homes and Article 370 was abrogated. This is a marriage by compulsion which won’t work.”

Though the protest in Srinagar was stopped by the police, many similar peaceful protests are being organised by different civil rights groups and students across India. For instance, a protest is being planned at Jantar Mantar on the 75th day since the abrogation of Article 370. At this Saturday’s peaceful public protest, poetry will be read and music played.



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