India has begun restoring landline telephony services to the state of Kashmir, after a week-long blockade that has left Kashmiris facing a total telecoms blackout
The Indian government says that it has now begun to restore fixed line telephone services to the region, with 17 out of 100 exchanges in the region now up and running.
However, the blackout on mobile phone and broadband services remains in place.
On the 5th of August, the Indian government revoked article 370 – a legal decree that granted semi-autonomous status to Kashmir, the country’s only Muslim-majority state. Immediately after doing this, the government imposed a curfew on the citizens of Kashmir and implemented a total blackout on the region’s telecommunications infrastructure.
India has been critical of the international community’s response to its actions in Kashmir. At a behind closed doors UN Security Council meeting in New York on Friday, India’s envoy Syed Akbaruddi, defended India’s record in the region.
"We don’t need international busybodies to try to tell us how to run our lives. We are a billion-plus people," he told reporters from the BBC.
The telecoms blackout is having a profound effect on the daily lives of Kashmiris, with local shops running low on supplies and medical facilities beginning to feel the strain.
Some analysts have predicted that the telecoms blackout could be costing India’s cash-strapped telcos up to $50 million per day in lost revenues.
Kashmir’s telecoms blackout: When critical infrastructure becomes a political weapon
India to raise a staggering $84bn at 5G spectrum auction