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Farcical SMS Ban In Kashmir

By Ravi Nitesh

30 May, 2013

When the world is moving towards technological advancement and people are getting ultra modern products, services and gadgets, it simply mean that allowing the IT revolution and wireless technologies within territorial boundary of a region is providing better living of the people as well as making the way to facilitate enhanced P2P (people to people) connectivity for their development as well as to contribute in development of civilization at large.

Almost all countries adopt and follow the trend and make their citizens access to these technologies without any discrimination. India, amazingly and sadly follow the rule with ‘some conditions’. It is an acrid fact. In its condition, it prevents people of a ‘specific’ region to use some specific technology while the rest of citizens are already enjoying it. The issue becomes more serious when it reveals that actually there is no specific and useful benefit to Indian nation-state from this restriction whereas loss of people is sure. ‘Loss’ in terms of accessing technology and facing discrimination, loss in terms of extra efforts that they are paying to compete with others who have access, loss in terms of freedom to choose a service that is widely available to all others.

People of J&K are facing a strange restriction on sending SMSes (short message services) on prepaid cell phones. This ban by the government on ‘security reasons’ on the pretext that that all common cellphone users of this region may become a threat to security (?). It is because the only logic behind this ban is ‘security reasons’. The ‘security reasons’ are so powerful that it denies the right to contact each other through SMSes for any ordinary user. Excluding number of people of a specific region for granting access of SMS facility, not only questions on the government on the ground that the government is discriminating of a specific region population but also build an idea in which government accepts that larger number of people may become security threats just because of availability of SMS facility on their cellphone. On the other hand, people who are living in rest of the country are enjoying the same facility without any discrimination and restriction and therefore informally government accepts them and considers them as ‘no threat’ towards its security?

Right to get access on a certain service is everybody's right if that particular service has been made available in the territory. Moreover, SMS is something that is very much available even to every cellphone user. On its positive side, it can be said that SMS is cheaper than call, SMS is point to point talk, SMS is healthier than phonecall, SMS can easily be done without much disturbance to receiver. SMS is something that is a favorite tool, especially of youth community.

It has already been accessed by various media reports that this restriction is actually without sense and has not benefited in anyway. There are lot of human rights violations issues in Kashmir and people are suffering with that. At the time, this SMS restriction may not appear as a public movement for which government faced problems, but it doesn't mean that it is not important issue, in fact it is important but less raised only because problems there have more intensity and pain than this. Government must know that no other state will bear this ban and it is only J&K where government is trying and experiencing all such things on the name of security. Government must understand that people and life there are not the objects over whom it is practicing all its innovative arms, restrictions and control systems and forcing them to suffer the everyday violence that is physiological and psychological both. By these ways, government is just trying to deride the sentiments of people and that is why imposing a thing over another on this land.

People of J&K and also from other parts of India who believe in rights and justice, must acknowledge the fact and they all should put pressure to government to lift this ban. Lifting the ban may or may not be a very great achievement for us but it will pave the way of demanding the rights. These small stands will ensure bigger participation and expectation in the continuous struggle of rights, equality and justice for all.

Ravi Nitesh is a Petroleum Engineer, Founder- Mission Bhartiyam, Core Member- Save Sharmila Solidarity Campaign follow on twitter: www.twitter.com/ravinitesh Blog: www.ravinitesh.blogspot.com





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