The people of Kashmir are jaded, yet simultaneously in a panic due to the COVID-19 outbreak and are left to fend for themselves yet again. An open letter to David Kaye, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
As you are fully aware, the coronavirus is changing the way we live.
While Europe and the United States are struggling to contain the virus, the rest of the world anxiously informs its citizens methods to “flatten the curve” and deal with COVID-19 accordingly.
Access to information is important now more than ever, with the internet as an imperative medium.
Mr. Kaye, since August 5th, the Indian regime has put Kashmir under siege, with mass arrests of political figures, the heaviest military presence in the world, and an internet blackout.
Families could not get in contact with their loved ones back home. Whatsapp profiles were disappearing due to long durations of inactivity. Hopelessness filled the valley that was once filled with lush greenery and poetry.
Though India has restored the internet, it has only done so partially.
The people of Kashmir are jaded, yet simultaneously in a panic due to the COVID-19 outbreak and are left to fend for themselves yet again.
While the rest of the world is well informed on how to proceed with the coronavirus, the Kashmiri people have yet again been stripped of their rights. With the first case of COVID-19 in Kashmir confirmed, the need for 4G connectivity to be restored is a necessity to fight the spreading of the virus. There are only three tertiary level hospitals located in the Kashmir Valley, with an ICU capacity of 50 beds. The healthcare system is fragile and in dire need for assistance. The best way to protect Kashmiri’s from COVID-19 is to take preventive measures, hence the need for 4G connectivity. Without the internet, Kashmir is extremely vulnerable to the Coronavirus.
Mr. Kaye, this region has suffered plenty. We fear that the coronavirus will further cripple families. Too many times, mothers have mourned at the funeral of their children. Too many times, children have been separated from their fathers. It’s clear Kashmiri lives are not a priority to India and its occupying forces.
As the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Kashmir is in dire need of your attention.
The freedom of expression has been taken away from Kashmiris long ago. Under normal circumstances, Kashmir needs 4G connectivity for everyday life. However, in a global pandemic, Kashmir needs 4G connectivity for sheer survival. The Kashmiris need someone to advocate for their lives in such dire times.
Mr. Kaye the Kashmiri people have the same right to survival just as every other global citizen. In a world where governments are going above and beyond to ensure the safety of everyone, the people of Kashmir are yet again forgotten.
All we ask for is for the restoration of the Internet. I urge you and all parties involved to seek for the protection of basic human rights. At this very moment, Kashmiris are in the blind and they need all of their senses for the upcoming battle.
Stand with Kashmir