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If You Live In Kashmir, Tell Us How Living Through The Longest Internet Shutdown In A Democracy Was

The longest internet shutdown in the world is over. Let us know what it was like for you to live through it.

Posted on March 5, 2020, at 8:28 p.m. ET

On Wednesday, the government of Jammu and Kashmir, the region between India and Pakistan, allowed internet access, including social media, for the first time in seven months.

Tauseef Mustafa / Getty Images

There are caveats: Internet speeds will be severely throttled, and after two weeks the government will reassess whether Kashmiris can continue to access the internet or shut it down once again.

More than seven million Kashmiris were thrust into a digital black hole on Aug. 5, 2019, after India's government revoked an article of the country's constitution that guaranteed the region a degree of autonomy and shut down the internet.

The government justified its actions by saying that the shutdown was to prevent militancy and stop the spread of misinformation, but locals in the region told BuzzFeed News that the reason for the cutting off access was to prevent dissent and open rebellion.

The shutdown, the longest ever in the world, destroyed Kashmir's economy and threw normal life out of whack. It was criticized by lawmakers and human rights advocates around the world.

Getty Images

Kashmiris who are finally able to use Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter say it feels "unreal."

My first tweet from #Kashmir outside of govt set media centre & without using a VPN. Have nothing exceptional to say except that tweeting so comfortably from home feels unreal. Also, is anyone else in #Kashmir finding it unnerving/weird to get continuous updates on whatsapp?

Twitter: @AzaanJavaid / Via Twitter: @AzaanJavaid

If you're a Kashmiri and you lived through the longest internet shutdown in a democracy so far, we'd love to hear from you. Tell us what it was like by leaving a comment on this post, and we may use your submission in a BuzzFeed News post. You can also use this Google Form to get in touch.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.