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Srinagar: CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami Monday said the Supreme Court’s refusal to ask the J&K administration to restore 4G internet connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir has “disappointed people of the Union Territory as they had high hopes with the apex court.”

“If the claims of the government that internet is being misused by some anti-national elements are true, why isn’t it taking remedial measures to stop it instead of punishing the whole population?” Tarigami said in a statement.

He said that at a time when Covid-19 pandemic has engulfed the whole world and people rely heavily on internet, the same facility is being denied to people of J&K.

“People are hankering for information about Covid19 pandemic and remedial measures, but due to low speed internet, they are unable to do so,” he said.

The low speed internet, he added, is impeding the work-from-home (WFH) regimen of professionals, including doctors, and students attending online classes.

The ban on high-speed internet makes it difficult for many in Kashmir to work from home and fulfil their right to employment and an adequate standard of living, adding to the economic cost of an already disruptive pandemic.

“Last year the students in Kashmir lost several precious months due to the security clampdown imposed after August 5.  Now this year, when schools had just reopened after seven months, lockdown had to be imposed to prevent COVID-19. And the same government which introduced online classes, is denying high speed internet facility to students in J&K which is unfortunate. Students are unable to attend online classes due to internet connectivity issues,” he added.

Tarigami said the access to timely and accurate information is necessary to provide the public with the understanding needed to support collective health efforts to reduce Covid-19 transmission.

“However, restriction on internet is preventing people from accessing vital health information. Healthcare professionals in J&K are fighting Covid19 without a full library of resources. Online video consultations are not possible due to low internet speed which further jeopardizes patient care and additionally limits the capacity of already understaffed and weak healthcare system,” he said.

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