The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded the world’s attention since December 2019, and the international population, civil society, and authorities have worked on information distribution initiatives to reduce its effects. Previous public health catastrophes have shown us that a lack of health information and the spread of disinformation have negative consequences for attaining preventive, detection, and treatment objectives.
Finally, fast and reliable data is essential to give the community the understanding required to promote collective health actions to minimize transmission. This safeguards the public and local health systems. . Nevertheless, state-sanctioned internet constraints, such as those currently in effect in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, restricting people from obtaining critical medical information.
Since August 5, 2019, when the Indian government revoked Article 370 of the Constitution, depriving the area of sovereignty and legislative autonomy, Jammu and Kashmir (population 8 million) have been under constant lockdown with limited connectivity. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court of India has declared that “freedom of internet access is a fundamental right,” the Jammu and Kashmir administration refuses to grant internet access at maximum 4G capability.
As a consequence, healthcare workers in Jammu and Kashmir are battling COVID-19 without a comprehensive resource collection. The region’s health professionals are unable to obtain updated data, public health recommendations, and research on the coronavirus, as well as reliable reporting on spread in the region, due to the region’s low-speed 2G internet.
In the complete absence of effective internet access, data on suspensions, shutdowns, and COVID-19-related limitations has been distributed through print publications, radio, and limited SMS text message options. Campaigns intended for social networks or video communication are simply unavailable for download. As a result, the absence of readily available, timely, and trustworthy information allows falsehoods, such as forged UNICEF memoranda, to propagate.
Because of its insufficient critical care capacity, Kashmir is unable to tackle COVID-19 effectively. In Indian-occupied Kashmir, there are around 200 ventilators for a population of 15 million people. Personal protection equipment is lacking for health personnel. In Kashmir, not enough testing is being conducted. Even before the emergence of COVID-19, Kashmir had a scarcity of healthcare workers. The COVID-19 pandemic has left doctors despondent and suffering from acute psychiatric crises.
The people of Kashmir are hardly strangers to living under injustice, but the epidemic is exacerbating their fear, tyranny, and despair. According to the publication, the number of suicides has increased, as has the already alarmingly high prevalence of domestic abuse in Kashmir.
Daily life has been interrupted as a result of the crackdown, with many people feeling harassed and reluctant to leave their homes. Dr. Majid Shafi, a government-appointed psychiatrist, stated that he used to see 100 patients each week last year, but now sees more than 500. This massive rise in patients demonstrates that the situation in Kashmir has deteriorated, which is horrific given that Narendra Modi is not held accountable.
India uses the coronavirus to exploit human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. In April, the Indian army stationed artillery pieces deep in Kashmiri communities, up to 60 kilometers from bunkered regions, in order to discharge long-range fire on Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
This invasion is causing widespread worry and terror. Locals are opposing the deployment of heavy artillery pieces into their neighborhoods, fearing retaliation fire from the Pakistani army. It is a deliberate tactic to deploy soldiers and artillery amid villages in order to make retaliation harder for the Pakistani army. The mingling of civilian and military targets is a war crime. The Indian army has previously utilized civilians as human shields A video of a Kashmiri guy tethered to a military vehicle patrolling a Kashmiri village surfaced in 2017. As Indian and Pakistani soldiers proceed to exchange fire, massive civilian casualties and property damage are being reported on both sides of the Line of Control. Families are forced to seek refuge in communal bunkers amid the exchange of cross-border fire. These are tiny confined settings where social distancing measures are hard to implement. Furthermore, those attempting to flee their communities during the bombing are barred from leaving by police enforcing COVID-19 lockdown procedures.
COVID-19 has taken over the globe, and the Kashmiris are caught in the thick of a worldwide epidemic with few resources to live. They lack access to a reliable internet connection, sufficient medical care, education, and, most importantly, mental tranquility. During the coronavirus breakout, Kashmiris are vulnerable to counterinsurgency activities. India has undoubtedly violated all human rights in Kashmir.
“COVID-19: Restricted Internet Impacts on Health in Kashmir.” Health and Human Rights Journal. April 15, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2021. https://www.hhrjournal.org/2020/04/covid-19-restricted-internet-impacts-on-health-in-kashmir/.
Khan, Ahmer, and Billy Perrigo. “What’s Happening in Kashmir During Coronavirus Lockdown.” Time. May 06, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2021. https://time.com/5832256/kashmir-lockdown-coronavirus/.
Omer Aijazi Postdoctoral Research Fellow. “India Uses Coronavirus Pandemic to Exploit Human Rights in Kashmir.” The Conversation. May 25, 2021. Accessed June 10, 2021. https://theconversation.com/india-uses-coronavirus-pandemic-to-exploit-human-rights-in-kashmir-137682.
“India Extends Lockdown in Kashmir Ahead of Eid.” Anadolu Ajansı. Accessed June 10, 2021. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/latest-on-coronavirus-outbreak/india-extends-lockdown-in-kashmir-ahead-of-eid/2234630.
Malik, Imran. “Kashmir in the times of COVID-19.” The Nation. April 22, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2021. https://nation.com.pk/23-Apr-2020/kashmir-in-the-times-of-covid-19.