Not for the first time, several artistes, historians, academics and concerned citizens have released a statement, urging the government to restore communication in Jammu and Kashmir.
The short statement, issued under the aegis of Sahmat, the memorial trust named after Safdar Hashmi, makes the simple pitch for the immediate restoration of communication in the region, which has been under siege since August 5 when the Centre announced the decision to read down Article 370, which gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status. What followed has been a near complete shutdown of most communication channels. Even though landline services have reportedly been restored, there is still no internet connectivity across the Valley and mobile phone services remain undependable.
“We are greatly disturbed by the shutdown in communication network for well over five weeks in Jammu and Kashmir which is causing extreme hardship to the people there. Family members outside Jammu and Kashmir are unable to contact their relatives in the state; students cannot receive funds from their families; and acute distress is being faced by patients unable to access medical help,” reads the statement.
The note is signed by the likes of architect Ram Rahman, painter Tara Sabharwal, historian Romila Thapar and painter and radiologist Sudhir Patwardhan, among others.
The full list of signatories include Anil Chandra, Nasir Tyabji, Sania Hashmi, Rajendra Sharma, Vivan Sundaram, Arunkumar HG, Javed Malik, Neeraj Malik, Tapati Guha-Thakurta, Inder Salim, Zoya Hasan, Anil Bhatti, Ruth Zohtanpuii, Noyana Khatoniar, Anju Dodiya, Atul Dodiya, Shilpa Gupta, Sara Rai, M. Aslam, Indrapramit Roy, Dinesh Abrol, Archana Prasad, Bharat Choudhary, Pushpamal N., Sindhu Thirumalaisamy, Tara Sabharwal, Riyas Komu, Neha Choksi, Shefalee Jain, Shaibani Azam, Meera Devidayal, Gauri Gill, Sahej Rahel, Sonia Khurana, Shantamani Muddaiah, Vishwamohan Jha, Umesh Kumar, Jahangir Asgar Jani, Madhuban Mitra, Manas Bhattacharya, Shukla Sawant, Navroze Contractor, Sonia Jabbar, C.F. John, Githa Hariharan, Gopika Chowfla, Zuleikha Allana, Navjot Altaf, Gopika Nath, Archana Hande, Nilima Sheikh, Deeptha Achar, Anita Dube, Anita Khemka, Imran Kokiloo, Rosalyn Dmello, Geeta Kapur, Ashoke Chatterjee, Arun Kumar Kalra, Sarbasis Bhattacharya, Vijay Rajoria, Parthiv Shah, Sunil Kothari, Murari Jha, Sharmila Samant, Irfan Habib, Zoya Hasan, Orijit Sen, Ashok Vajpeyi, M.M.P. Singh, Rajesh Joshi, Githa Hariharan, Prabhat Patnaik, Syeda Hameed, Sashi Kumar, Rajinder Arora, Shireen Gandhy, Molayashree Hashmi, Sohail Hashmi and M.K. Raina.