Srinagar: It was a moving reunion for 35-year-old Parvez Ahmad who returned home in Bota Kadal in Srinagar. Parvez sells Kashmiri handicrafts in Maharashtra. Since the communicate blockade was imposed after the scrapping of Article 370, Parvez had been unable to connect with his family in Kashmir.
Parvez who is getting married in September was emotional after he met his ageing father and mother, who had been desperately waiting to meet him.
The wedding season is Kashmir will be a low-key affair this year. Most of the wedding invitations that were sent out have been cancelled; due to the uncertainty of the situation and restrictions following the scrapping of Article 370. Parvez says, “I will go ahead with my wedding plans but it will be a low-key affair. In an extremely depressing situation like this, how can one think of a marriage celebration? The biggest problem that the people of Kashmir face currently is a blanket ban on communication.”
Many like Parvez share similar concerns.
Ali Mohammad, a neighbour of Parvez says, “Due to the communication blockade we have been unable to get in touch with our friends and relatives.” “This has set in a cycle of frustration in Kashmir and has provoked the people of Kashmir,” says another resident Mohamad Amin.
The government says that it is working on a plan to restore the landline connections in Kashmir.
Government spokesperson Rohit Kansal says, “Out of 96,000 landlines in the state 73,000 are functioning.”
But Mehraj-ud-din, a resident of Maharjpora in Batamlloo area of Srinagar, complains that the landlines which were restored earlier have stopped working.
“The landlines were restored in our area a couple of days ago but snapped again in a matter of hours. There is no reason given to us. The government’s assurances do not seem to work on the ground,” says Mehraj-ud-din.
The government says it is informed of the situation and that the matter is being taken up with service provider BSNL.
“We have received complaints that some landlines have stopped working. We have taken it up with the BSNL. They have some capacity constraints, but they are working on it and as per our promise all the landlines will be restored,” Rohit Kansal adds.
But until the communication lines work on the ground and people sense some relief the assurances of the government will not cut ice.