Internet curbs in India : Another report by a digital civil rights group has slammed India's love of Internet shutdowns, noting that almost half of all politically-motivated internet blackouts worldwide in 2022 occurred in the country.

' Access Now ' says it recorded at least 187 internet shutdowns last year, 84 of which were in India.

For comparison, even though the report calls out Pakistan for also using internet restrictions to combat protests, it has recorded only one internet shutdown ordered by Islamabad - a two hour disruption in multiple cities during the May 25 protests.

Meanwhile, India, which has led the NGO's shutdown list for each of the past five years, ordered enough shutdowns to merit a further statistical breakdown - 49 of the shutdowns only targeted Occupied Kashmir while the others were broader.

There were also periods of about three days in January and February where back-to-back shutdowns began to resemble outright internet bans.

Further underscoring the oppressive nature of the Indian government's action is that the country ranked second on the list was Ukraine. But unlike India, the Ukrainian government was not blamed for the shutingdowns.

In fact, Ukraine's 22 shutdowns were all blamed on Russia - specifically the Russian military - as part of its invasion of Ukraine. Think about that - India is treating its own citizens worse than an unpopular foreign invader treats a belligerent local population.

The report also notes that internet shutdowns are ''becoming go-to weapon for perpetrators to crush dissent and exert control'',and New Delhi's proposed Indian Telecommunication Bill, which grants the central and state governments unrestricted powers to impose shutdowns, shows its :

''Intention to continue down this troublesome path, violating fundamental rights of expression and assembly and providing opportunities to cover up human rights abuses.'' 

Unsurprisingly, this wave of undemocratic activity continues to fuel dissent in the country, not just in Occupied Kashmir and other disputed areas, but even in major cities.

The World Students Society thanks The Editorial Board, The Express Tribune.


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