Over 780 scientists, academics urge Modi govt to end IOK lockdown

General Official News

Bengaluru, September 27, 2019 (PPI-OT): Over 780 prominent Indian scientists, researchers and academicians from premier institutions through two statements have asked the Modi government to end the lockdown in occupied Kashmir.

The first statement calls attention to the impact of the restrictions on academic institutions in the occupied territory. Initially signed by six well-known personalities – B. Ananthanarayan, Gautam Menon, Jayant Murthy, Rahul Siddharthan, Reeteka Sud and Mukund Thattai – the statement had been endorsed by 150 others.

“While all residents of Kashmir deserve to be heard, we wish to express our concern about the situation at academic institutions,” the statement said.

“The University of Kashmir is home to many fine scholars, including young scientists who have returned to India from reputable institutions abroad to set up their own laboratories in Kashmir and train the next generation of scientists, supported by funding from Indian government bodies like DST (department of science and technology) and DBT (department of biotechnology) and prestigious fellowships like the Early Career Fellowships from India Alliance. Such researchers, and their students, remain cut off from the internet and the world. In today’s world, the internet is an absolutely vital tool for conducting and communicating research,” the statement maintained.

“Not only are the scientists unreachable, even the University of Kashmir’s domain has disappeared from Google’s search results for the university. Some other institutions (Central University of Kashmir, National Institute of Technology Srinagar, and others) appear to have functioning websites, but these have not been updated since July,” it added.

The communication lockdown has been in place in occupied Kashmir since August 5 when the Modi government repealed the special status of the territory.

The signatories of the statement have also written emails detailing their concerns to several Indian government agencies, including the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the University Grants Commission, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and the office of the principal scientific adviser to the government of India.

The second statement, published online with hundreds of signatories from leading research institutions pointed to the discomfort faced by residents amid the continuing restrictions. “We are appalled by the authorities’ decision to restrict telecommunications and the internet in Kashmir for over 50 days,” it said.

“In our own institutions, we have witnessed students suffering because they are unable to maintain contact with their families. Moreover, credible reports suggest that these restrictions have made it difficult for ordinary people in the territory to procure medical and essential supplies or even for children to attend school,” it added.

For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
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