Is social media network ban really salvaging the situation?
Srinagar: The decision of the government to put curbs on the social media networking sites in Kashmir Valley has its own impact on many stakeholders in Kashmir especially business community and students. Cross section of people in Kashmir especially the students are questioning the wisdom of the government to ban internet or social media networking sites to cool the streets of Kashmir.
After the ban, the situation has only slided to chaos and confusion on the ground. There has been no let up in the student protests or in the protests near the encounter sites. “We have failed to understand why the government in search of peace in Kashmir only presses the button to ban internet. Such intermittent bans have proved counter-productive for the situation and is a death blow for the sagging business here”, said Imtiyaz Ahmad who is running his business mostly via internet. He is not the only person who is fuming in Kashmir on the ban on social media networking sites.
The student community is the worst sufferer of such ban as many students used to get online classes via YouTube which stands blocked. Similarly hundreds of students especially research scholars were completely depending on internet and different social media networking sites for their projects and they feel that they will have to migrate to complete their projects.
It is not only the students, but also the travel industry and tourism industry which has badly suffered because of the bans on the internet. “In the past five years government has banned internet service at least two dozen times. They are not interested in our business. They want us to beg for survival. Our business is doomed”, said Sheikh Nissar Ahmad a leading travel agent and guide. A prominent guide Abdul Zaindari, who running his business via internet is also fuming for the fresh ban as he is suffering because of it. “I was expecting many parties to come and have Srinagar heritage walk with me, but I could not communicate with them because recent ban. The government should look for other means and not disturb our business by such bans”, Abdul Zaindari told Voice of Valley.
The authorities have imposed ban on 22 social media networking sites on the recommendations and feedback of intelligence agencies that most of the trouble on the streets was being triggered by these sites and people were uploading live videos and security excesses triggering more protests. But the feedback seems far from reality as the protests are refusing to die down in Kashmir Valley and the students are only protesting more and more on the streets of Kashmir.
What are the gains for the government out of such bans on the use of internet services or social media networking sites? If the situation is only drifting in Kashmir why should government still invoke bans on internet and on such medium of communication? In the present world of communication, it seems a regressive decision of the State Government to impose such bans or curbs on the internet here. The young generation of Kashmir feels now incomplete without internet service or access to social media networking sites as they don’t have any other means of any other activity in Kashmir.