United Nations experts have urged the Indian government to withdraw the ban on internet services in Jammu and Kashmir and “reinstate” freedom of expression.
The Indian government on April 17 blocked access to 22 websites and applications, including Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter, as well as 3G and 4G data services in the restive northern state.
“The scope of these restrictions has significantly disproportionate impact on the fundamental rights of everyone in Kashmir,” David Kaye, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, was quoted by the EFE news agency as saying in a statement. Kaye’s statement was seconded by Michel Forst, a special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
New Delhi has maintained that the ban was aimed at preventing circulation of information that might aggravate violence in the restive state.
The statement from the experts called on New Delhi to guarantee freedom of expression in the state and to “seek a solution for the social and political conflicts of the region through open, transparent and democratic dialogue”.