27 September, 2020

Kashmir Unsmarted

Kashmir Unsmarted
outlookindia.com
2020-01-31T11:44:39+05:30

“When I got a wrist watch, I threw away my phone,” says Farooq Ahmad of Habson Motors, which deals in Samsung phones in Kashmir. For a few days following the abrogation of Article 370 and the communication shutdown in its wake, Farooq had been using his mobile phone to check the time. Due to months of internet shutdown, sales of high-end smartphones have gone down by 80 per cent in the Valley of eight million people. “We didn’t have phone services for several months and now we get intermittent doses of the internet. Who will buy a smartphone when you can’t access the internet?” asks Ejaz Ahmad Qureshi, who runs World Vision, a mobile phone shop on Srinagar’s Residency Road, and heads the Kashmir Cellular Phone Association. On Residency Road, there are around a dozen shops selling ­mobile phones and all have seen ­drastic reduction in sales. There is talk of switching to other businesses.

The government’s decision to restore limited internet services in Jammu and Kashmir on Republic Day brought more frustration than...

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