Kashmir’s Internet Siege provides an overview of the harms, costs and consequences of the digital siege in Jammu & Kashmir, from August 2019 to the publication of this report in August 2020. We examine the shutdown and network disruptions through a broad-based and multi- dimensional human rights framework that sees internet access as vital in the contemporary world.
India leads the world in ordering internet shutdowns, and both in terms of frequency and duration, Jammu & Kashmir accounts for more than two-thirds of the Indian shutdowns ordered. Mobile internet data speed in Kashmir is currently restricted to 2G internet (250kbps). Even this access remains extremely precarious as localized shutdowns of the internet in specific districts or areas, often accompanied by mobile phone disruptions, are commonplace, sometimes lasting for upto a week.
In this report we contextualise the digital siege in light of long standing, widespread and systematic patterns of rights violations in Kashmir. Digital sieges are a technique of political repression in Kashmir, and a severe impediment to the enjoyment of internationally and constitutionally guaranteed civil, political and socio-economic rights. They curtail circulation of news and information, restrict social and emergency communications, and silence and criminalise all forms of political interactions and mobilisations as “militancy related” “terrorist activity” and threats to “national security”.