Communication gag in Valley; TV channel flooded with messages from Kashmiris

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 8/24/2019 12:15:06 AM

SRINAGAR, Aug 23: Amidst the communication blockade, a local private television news channel continues to be flooded with messages from Kashmiris presently in different parts of world for their families in the Valley. The TV channel telecasts the audio and video messages sent to them by Kashmiris.
On the 19th consecutive day today, there are no mobile phone services in Kashmir. Even the broadband and mobile internet services continue to remain suspended. Landline phone services have been restored only in selective areas with huge majority of population without the service even now.
Cut off from their families, thousands of Kashmiris in other states and rest of world are concerned about the well-being of their family members, relatives and friends in Kashmir. They have been sending their audio and video messages for their families in Kashmir to Gulistan news channel which telecasts the same. The TV channel asked the viewers to send such messages for their families.
This process started few days after the communication clampdown and with every passing day it is gaining momentum. “I had no word with my brother, working outside the state for a long time after the present clampdown. He sent a message to the television channel recently and we heaved a sigh of relief on coming to know that he is alright,” said Nisar Ahmad. He added that the TV channel is doing a good service to the people at this time of crisis.
Nisar said the authorities had placed some phone facilities in some offices for the people to talk to their relatives outside but the number of such phones is very less going by the population and requirement. Huge rush is witnessed at such places and a number of people recently complained about not getting their turn to speak because of the rush, he said.
Meanwhile, Haj pilgrims returning from Saudi Arab said they had a tough time because of the communication blockade in Valley. A pilgrim said the rumour mongering complicated the things. The rumours of killings in Valley made them restless in Saudi Arabia.
He added that after the re-opening of landlines in some Srinagar areas, verified and authentic reports started reaching some of the Haj pilgrims during the pilgrimage. This reduced the level of anxiety to some extent.
The pilgrims said that large number of Hajis from rural areas had no word from their families in Kashmir. They had no idea whether anybody will be able to pick them up from Srinagar airport after their return here. They were also not aware about the government announcement that the authorities will facilitate their travel to their respective homes from the airport in case the family members cannot come to pick them up.



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