Offline in an online era

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday ordered continued restriction of mobile data speeds citing a ‘security scenario’ in the union territory that has been without proper internet connectivity for well over seven months. Today’s teenagers have never known an internet that couldn’t stream as much content as they want on demand. But what would you do if you simply couldn’t access the internet for months on end?

| MARCH 19, 2020, 04:53 AM IST

We are so used to the internet in our daily lives. We use it for communication, for our work, for information, for connecting with family and friends and even for entertainment. It has embedded itself in our lifestyle just enough for it to be a necessity and an absolute requirement, so much so that even a minute’s withdrawal causes us anxiety and irritation. 

Just think about your reaction the last time you had an improper or poor connection, or your netpack expired.  

Now imagine an entire day without the internet. Or how about a whole month. Now imagine seven months because that was the life of all the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir since August 4 when a communication blackout was clamped down on the union territory.

Subsequently, in the months that followed, the authorities made some relaxations, albeit not to the extent that one would have expected. 

On January 24 this year, the Jammu and Kashmir government restored 2G mobile data services to all networks nearly  six months after the internet remained suspended completely after the Centre revoked Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Then earlier this month, the ban on social media sites that was in place for over seven months  was lifted. 

However, curbs on high-speed 3G, 4G internet services have been extended till a further review . 

What this means is that, even today, effectively speaking, no worthwhile work can be done on the internet if you are living in Jammu and Kashmir. 

While some quarters have been pushing for the restrictions to be lifted immediately, especially in view of the latest coronavirus threat where reduced human contact is encouraged as a measure to stop the spread of this deadly virus, Jammu and Kashmi&K continues to remain in a state of partial lockdown as far as internet connectivity is concerned.

According to a government notification released on Tuesday, high-speed internet will continue to remain suspended across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir till March 26.

The Goan decided to ask the tough one: Can you imagine a day when you are unable to use your  phone to make or receive calls, or using the internet to scroll through your favourite social media apps is so frustrating that you just give up for lack of speed or connectivity? And most importantly, what would you do with all that free time?J&K Students despair as Colleges announce online admission

While universities and college outside Jammu and Kashmir have announced online admissions for different undergraduate and postgraduate courses, the strain on high speed 4G internet in Kashmir has left the students in a state of despair.
Students complained they were not able to access the websites on low speed 2G internet to fill the admission forms. Before applying for any course, the students need to download the prospectus and apply online for the admissions.
“The last date for submission of application form at Jamia University is March 25. But we aren’t able to access the University website and apply for courses. The non-availability of high speed internet is playing a spoilsport for us,” said a student Abrar Ahmad.
Many students said they were not in position to travel outside the state amid the Coronavirus threat. As such, the students urged the Jammu and Kashmir administration to restore the high speed mobile internet in the interest of students.
“The government should take a note of the issue as it concerns career of thousands of students who are desperate to apply for admissions in outside Universities,” said Ahmad.
Top universities across the nation like Jamia Millia Islamia, JNU, Chennai Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Gujarat, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific  Research Bangalore, Nalanda University, IIM-Indore  and other varsities have all invited application forms from students for various undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
Similarly, registration is open for CLAT-2020 (Common Law Admission Test), a national level entrance exam for admission to undergraduate and postgraduate law programmes offered by 22 National Law Universities.
The last date for applying for admission in most of the institutions is March end or April.
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