11th Aug 2019 08:08:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Special status of Jammu & Kashmir which came under Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution had been scrapped and the state had also been bifurcated into two parts and reduced to the status of Union Territories. If this ‘new beginning’ of the region has been the headline news all throughout last week, that what is drawing attention now is the prolonged communication blackout that continues uninterrupted since August 5, even if the place desperately tries to limp back to normalcy. This has caused an uproar in the media world both within and outside the country and has led to the issue of a condemnation statement by the Editors' Guild of India and even filing of a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking restoration of the environment for carrying out journalistic assignments there. Till Sunday which happens to be the seventh day of the communication embargo, there were no signs yet for the lift of this veil, forcing one to rewind the past for search of a parallel of such unprecedented nature.

It was since Monday last week which saw the announcement of these historic decisions, restrictions followed that led to a complete shutdown on internet and telecommunication services and it had not been possible for reporters including photo journalists to file copies or sent images since then. As per reports, the shutdown is total in the truest sense since there had been a complete suspension of all means of communication that includes cellular, internet, landlines, commercial & domestic broadband and even lease lines. This continued ‘forced isolation’ is altogether a new happening not only in the Indian context but also for Kashmir too and according to many it’s really rare even when compared to the most turbulent times of the early 90’s. Repercussions are now touching the normal ways of life and the hardest hit seems to be the medical world, particularly the emergency departments since all communication channels with doctors and paramedics are chocked indefinitely. It’s been a harrowing time for the parents whose children are studying outside and it is very difficult to predict how long their anxiety will persist. Although curfew has been relaxed in many parts to allow people to purchase daily necessities, the popular perception is that full or near-normalcy will still be a far cry with such continued communication restrictions.

It is not that there are no such precedence elsewhere in the  world with the example of North Korea and some provinces of China ready at hand. But wouldn’t it be a sheer folly to equate the largest democracy of the world with these totalitarian regimes? This is incommunicado of the highest degree which the ‘Paradise on Earth’ doesn’t deserve.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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