SRINAGAR: Kashmiris queue at a government office to use phone amid week-long clampdown that has seen communication lines cut off.
Srinagar and New Delhi – On the lawn of the district commissioner’s office in Srinagar, the main city of Indian-administered Kashmir, residents circle around a table, hoping their turn will come soon.
With phone and internet usage cut off during a week-long lockdown imposed by the Indian government, authorities are allowing locals to use a mobile phone to briefly speak to their loved ones outside the Muslim-majority state.
After several attempts, the line finally got through for two parents trying to reach their son in Nepal – at first, there were screams, followed by laughter before the conversation got going.
“We are all right. Your dad is with me. Don’t come to Kashmir,” were the first few words uttered by the mother.
Her husband almost instantly snatched the mobile phone: “Don’t come to Kashmir, we will travel to Nepal to meet you after Eid,” he shouted, referring to the ongoing Muslim festival.
Amid tears, the conversation between the mother and the son went on for about a minute, before the phone was taken back to be used by the other waiting parents.