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India leads world in internet shutdown for a 5th consecutive year - watchdog

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Image credit : SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images India, which led the list for a fifth consecutive year, enforced by far the greatest number of internet shutdowns in the world in 2022, according to internet advocacy monitor Access Now. According to a study released on Tuesday by the New York-based digital rights advocacy group Access Now, out of 187 internet shutdowns worldwide tracked by the organization, 84 occurred in India, including 49 in Indian-administered Kashmir. "Authorities disrupted internet access at least 49 times in Kashmir due to political instability and violence, including a string of 16 back-to-back orders for three-day-long curfew-style shutdowns in January and February 2022," the watchdog report added. Kashmir has long been a source of tension between India and Pakistan, India's bitter foe that claims the entire area but only controls portions of it. The autonomous state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has a majority of Muslims, was abolished and divided into two federally controlled areas in August 2019 by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government, which is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since then, the government has frequently imposed communications limitations on the area for security reasons. Human rights organizations have denounced these restrictions and labelled them as efforts to quell opposition. In Kashmir, militants have fought against Indian control for more than three decades. The nation of South Asia accuses Pakistan of inciting the uprising. Islamabad rejects the allegations. Even though India continued to lead the globe in internet outages, the watchdog reported that in 2022 there were less than 100 outages nationwide for the first time since 2017. After invading Ukraine on February 24 of last year, the Russian military knocked off internet connectivity there at least 22 times, placing Ukraine second on the list. According to the watchdog's study, the Russian military intentionally destroyed telecommunications equipment and disrupted internet connectivity at least 22 times during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Iran was the next country on the list after Ukraine, where officials shut down the internet 18 times in 2022 in reaction to anti-government protests. Following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, on September 16th of last year while in police detention, there were widespread anti-government demonstrations throughout Iran last fall. The morality police in Tehran detained Amini for disobeying the hijab regulations, which call for women to completely cover their body and hair. In detention, she passed away.

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