The internet suspension in Kashmir for the past five and a half months has created a wide gap between administration and locals, who earlier used to take to social media to put forth their grievances to the concerned authorities.
When Kashmir used to have internet connectivity, Netizens would often take to social media to updated the administration about their day-to-day problems in their respective areas and seek their immediate intervention.
On many occasions, tagging officials like the Governor's Grievance Cell and respective Deputy Commissioners many people were provided immediate help on their request.
“It was a great help for the common people to reach out to high rank officials, who otherwise have no access to meet them," Firdous Hassan, a local, said.
Hassan said in his village in Pulwama, he once tagged an official seeking his help, and was given immediate response.
“Our area was inundated after heavy rainfall. Two days went by but authorities were nowhere to be seen. It was then that I posted a message to the concerned DC and within hours, the road was cleared," Hassan said.
However, since August 5, all these activities came to a grinding halt after the government suspended all communication lines.
In the intervening night of August 4 and 5, Government of India (GoI), just hours before abrogating Article 370 through presidential orders, snapped all communication lines in the Valley to “maintain law and order” in the region.
Even though authorities restored the postpaid mobile services last month, internet services continue to remain suspended for the past four months.
The internet ban has crippled all activities related to its usage with business and academics facing major crisis in its absence.
“It has been very hard for a common people now to forward their problems to the authorities," Wasim Ahmad, a local from Baramulla said. “In the recent snowfall, north Kashmir was cut off from the rest of the Valley, but unlike earlier days we couldn't connect with any officials for help."
Interestingly, in absence of internet facilities, the Jammu Kashmir administration has been active on social media updating government’s day-to-day developmental work.
An official twitter handle of Srinagar district administration in its latest tweet announced the release of Rs 4 crore for strengthening power infrastructure in Srinagar.
“Power infrastructure in Srinagar areas being strengthened. 4 crore released to PDD — for creation of new sub-stations and upgradation of repair workshops. Buffer stock of replacement transformers also being enhanced (sic)," the tweet reads.
Similarly, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Choudhary on Sunday taking took to micro-blogging site Twitter announcing the completion of 25 smart schools in the city along with pictures.
“Belated though, here is the new year gift for Srinagar. After months of hard work, our 25 smart schools are ready to offer students and parents the best. Let's make it great #smartcity (sic)," Choudhary tweeted.