A security force officer stands guard in Kashmir | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A security force officer stands guard in Kashmir | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
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Bengaluru: Over 780 prominent Indian scientists, researchers and academicians from premier institutions such as IITs and IISc have, through two statements, asked the Modi government to end the communication lockdown in Kashmir.

The first statement, which was originally published in The Hindu, calls attention to the impact of the restrictions on academic institutions in Kashmir.

Initially signed by six well-known personalities — B. Ananthanarayan (Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru), Gautam Menon (Ashoka University, Sonepat), Jayant Murthy (Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru), Rahul Siddharthan (Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai), Reeteka Sud (NIMHANS, Bengaluru) and Mukund Thattai (National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru) — the statement had been endorsed by 150 others by Thursday.

“While all residents of Kashmir deserve to be heard, we wish to express our concern about the situation at academic institutions,” the statement reads.

“The University of Kashmir is home to many fine scholars, including young scientists who have returned to India from reputable institutions abroad to set up their own laboratories in Kashmir and train the next generation of scientists, supported by funding from Indian government bodies like DST (department of science and technology) and DBT (department of biotechnology) and prestigious fellowships like the Early Career Fellowships from India Alliance. Such researchers, and their students, remain cut off from the internet and the world. In today’s world, the internet is an absolutely vital tool for conducting and communicating research,” the statement adds.

“Not only are the scientists unreachable, even the University of Kashmir’s domain has disappeared from Google’s search results for the university. Some other institutions (Central University of Kashmir, National Institute of Technology Srinagar, and others) appear to have functioning websites, but these have not been updated since July,” it reads.

The communication lockdown in Jammu & Kashmir has been in place since the first week of August, when the Modi government stripped the state of its special status by revoking Article 370 and bifurcated it into two union territories.

The restrictions have been justified by the government as an essential requirement to maintain peace in the Valley, where Article 370 was seen as a sacred condition of Kashmir’s accession to India in 1948.

The authors of the statement have also written emails detailing their concerns to several government agencies, including the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the University Grants Commission, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and the office of the principal scientific adviser to the government of India.


Also read: How doctors in Kashmir are dealing with lockdown — with anti-anxiety pills & generosity


‘Essential supplies hit’

The second statement, published online on 21 September with hundreds of signatories from leading research institutions such as the International Centre For Theoretical Sciences (ICTS), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Raman Research Institute (RRI), and multiple IITs and IISERs, points to the discomfort faced by residents amid the continuing restrictions.

“We are appalled by the government’s decision to restrict telecommunications and the internet in Kashmir for over a month. We understand that landlines have been restored in some parts of Kashmir, but since landline teledensity in Kashmir is below 1 per cent according to the government’s own statistics, this measure has failed to provide substantive relief to Kashmir’s residents,” it adds.

“In our own institutions, we have witnessed students suffering because they are unable to maintain contact with their families. Moreover, credible reports suggest that these restrictions have made it difficult for ordinary people in Kashmir to procure medical and essential supplies or even for children to attend school,” it states.

The statement, which had gathered over 625 signatures by Thursday, was drafted by Suvrat Raju, Abhishod Prakash and Adhip Agarwala of ICTS and Madhusudan Raman of TIFR.


Also read: Prolonged violence in Kashmir has led to ‘formidable’ health crisis: Lancet medical journal


 

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19 Comments Share Your Views

19 COMMENTS

  1. The left lobby has people in all walks of life, albeit very small numbers. But they play out the left card in a well orchestrated method to oppose Modi and BJP. Today it is 781 scientists, then there were 44 bureaucrts, then 51 people from the film world, 13 economist etc. Each one of them becomes an expert on running the country, replacing the model of governance by democratically elected government by the people of India. They use two specifics a) no.of people b) scientist/ academic / bureaucrat etc. They try to outweigh democracy through this weird logic. However, no one is border about the number of people and the field from which they come. this country has elected a government through a very strong democratic process and this government has the backing of a very large number of people of this country. so this boy of so many people so many number so many scientist so many academic is all a game that the leftists try to play to please themselves. Let them be happy.

    • Oye Singh – why don’t you have some shame and educate yourself about Kashmir and stop defending terrorists ? Lakhs of scientists support PM Modi as reflected in the support he gets everytime he goes to ISRO, DRDO, all the new IITs he has opened! Free Pakistan Occupied Kashmir first!

  2. Since accession India is spending millions and billions on Kashmir, and this state has never been positive or contributing to India’s coffer as others. India provided security and Finance to state otherwise either Pakistanis or Chinese would have made same thing what they have done to their minorities.
    Did these persons ever cared for plight of Hindus in Pakistan and Kashmir since 1947 independence? If they are so concerned did they say aunt Hing about killing of over 3000 during massacre of Sikhs in 1984? Why they are taking sides? What is their motive who survive on Indian poor tax payers?

  3. Narhari is a typical example of a BJP supporter without logic. Is it difficult for him to understand that both Muslims and Hindus are under lockdown?

  4. Scientists, your job is science, not politics. Don’t let the Left fool you into getting into politics. If you do so, science will end up becoming pseudo-science.

  5. Hello scientists, where were you all when 5,00,000 Kashmiri Hindus were killed, raped, or expelled from Kashmir? Why raise voice only for Muslims? Are Hindus not worthy enough for your attention?

      • Why there is no uniform civil code in our country?
        When emergency was there do you no what happened to innocent for 18 months? Do you care about minorities of Kashmir who are made refugees in their own land? Why so many Rohingya are living there?

      • Your Raving and Ranting doesn’t change reality. The Liberals have been exposed as not only anti-Hindu but also anti-India in every forum. Saying that the SC is now under Govt control shows that not only are you anti-India but you are anti-democracy itself . Kashmir will be under lockdown till kingdom come if that’s what it takes… who are you to object ? India decided to accept Kashmir from Hari Singh – not the cattle that came with the land.

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