Indian ban on mobile phone protested in Kashmir

Party members from Indian-controlled Kashmir's main opposition protested on Friday against New Delhi's ban on pre-paid mobile connections.

Indian ban on mobile phone protested in Kashmir

Party members from Indian-controlled Kashmir's main opposition protested on Friday against New Delhi's ban on pre-paid mobile connections.

The Indian government announced the ban on pre-paid connections last weekend, citing rumors that pro-indepence fighters were using them "to trigger bombs".

Carrying placards reading: "Stop suspecting Kashmiris," protesters from the "pro-India" People's Democratic Party (PDP) marched through the streets of the state's summer capital Srinagar.

The ban has affected 3.8 million users in Kashmir, where about 500,000 Indian troops are stationed.

Post-paid mobiles, billed on a monthly basis, can still be bought. But buying them requires a series of security checks and official registration of personal details and passport photographs.

Pre-paid phones, popular because of their easy availability and payment flexibility, come with a set number of minutes charged on them, have no bills and had been sold without long identity checks.

However, opponents of the ban say that insurgents can easily get pre-paid mobile connections outside Kashmir.

Party chief Mehbooba Mufti demanded to know why the government had banned pre-paid connections in Kashmir when it had not taken similar steps in areas of the country where Maoist insurgents are operating or in the insurgency-racked northeast.

Mufti called the ban a manifestation of India's discriminatory policies in Kashmir.

Kashmiris see India as an "occupier" and accuse the ruling of systematic violations, killing dozens of civilians in Himalayan region.

Tens of thousands of Muslims have been killed since pro-independent moves grew against Indian rule in 1989.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Kasım 2009, 14:46
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