Internet ban: Valley’s youth take to ‘offline’ games

MAJID NABI. Dated: 12/15/2019 12:02:27 PM

SRINAGAR, Dec 14: As internet ban in Kashmir completed 132 days today after the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, valley’s youth who once used to spend most of their time on social networking sites now rely on ‘offline’ mobile games to keep themselves busy.
Since the internet ban continues in Kashmir over the past more than four months, majority of youth and teenagers, instead of using Facebook and WhatsApp, have now taken to playing offline mobile games on their handsets.
Citing loneliness as a reason to play offline games on their mobile phones from dawn to dusk, the socially disconnected youth said the internet breakdown has led to many problems in Kashmir that government deliberately ignores.
They said that denying internet facility in this modern era of science and technology is an attack on people’s fundamental rights as the same not only provides platform to connect with the world but also generates online employment avenues.
“I had started an online leather business on Facebook and Instagram in January this year. Till August I was doing well and was quite satisfied the way my business was going. However, the government’s decision to suspend internet not only destroyed the clientele but also led to losses worth lakhs of rupees,” said Arjumand, an online businesswomen from Srinagar.
She added that internet was not only a medium to connect with her friends or relatives but a source of income as well. Arjumand said that she now plays offline mobile games on her handset to avoid loneliness.
BJP led centre suspended all modes of communication including landline phones, mobile calling service, broadband and mobile internet and imposed stringent restrictions across Jammu and Kashmir few hours before reducing it to Union Territory and scraping provisions of Articles 370 and 35A which gave special status to erstwhile state.
Murtaza, a youth from Rainawari area, who was also doing an online business said he finds it very difficult to survive in Kashmir in present circumstances. He said that he was selling recycled mobile phones on Instagram and was earning fifteen to twenty thousand rupees per month.
“Now I am totally dependent on my father who retired as a teacher five years ago. Since I have nothing to do, I play offline games on my mobile to get rid of negative thoughts,” said Murtaza.



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