Nearly eight million people live in the disputed state of Kashmir and all of them are deprived of reliable information, online classes, and many other facilities amidst the epidemic.
This is because the state has been cut off from all Internet facilities since it was plunged into a digital black hole back in August. This happened after the Indian government revoked an article of the country’s constitution that allowed the state to have the right to self-government.
This resulted in a complete shut down of communication in the region including phone lines and the internet to “to prevent militancy and curb the spread of misinformation”. In March, however, the government finally restored the state’s internet but at extremely slow speeds making it impossible to use most facilities.
A new government order that is going into effect on March 26 has further extended these restrictions in the region to “prevent misuse of social media applications” and reduce “terror activities”. However, locals are raising their voice against these restrictions saying that these are unacceptable especially at a time where timely updates relating to the virus are crucial.
Local authorities have been uploading advisory content on Twitter telling people to wash their hands and maintain social distancing but the people of the state are unable to access any of that.
The lack of reliable information is instead causing misinformation and rumors to spread even further. One rumor, for instance, told people that eating garlic and onions improves the immune system against the virus and some herbal medicine can even fully cure it.