NEW DELHI (AP) – Dozens of journalists in Indian-controlled Kashmir held a sit-in protest Thursday against an ongoing communication blackout in the disputed Himalayan region, describing the blockade of the internet and mobile phones as a government-imposed gag.
The journalists, holding placards and wearing black bands, said the government was muzzling the press in the region and demanded that the internet and mobile connectivity be restored.
A joint statement issued by 11 Kashmir-based journalists’ associations read: “How long can the journalists of Valley rely solely on official releases and occasional press briefings that have always been a one-way communication?”
For the last two months, mobile phone and internet services have been shut down in Indian-controlled Kashmir after New Delhi stripped the region of its semi-autonomous powers and implemented a strict clampdown. It has sent tens of thousands of extra troops to the region and detained thousands of people.
The authorities have said they have restored landline phones but have remained silent on when the mobile phones and the internet would be up and running.
On Oct. 1 the India government challenged a petition filed by a Kashmir journalist on curbs on the media in Kashmir, saying there are no restrictions on the movement of journalists in the region.
Originally published on www.washingtontimes.com