By Fahad Shah
The Omar Abdullah-led government’s decision to ban the Short Messaging Service hasn’t gone down well with the youngsters in Valley as they have been deprived of exchanging their feelings through the popular service.
The SMS ban came after the state government said the service was being used to spread “rumors and cause chaos” in wake of the ongoing situation in the Valley.
Saqib(name changed), who is working as a photo journalist in a UK based agency at Delhi is livid with the ban like hundreds of young boys and girls.
Being in Delhi, far away from his close friend studying here in Valley, Saqib says it’s difficult not to be able to communicate in these tough times.
“SMS ban is a serious issue as curfews keep everyone jailed at home. We are even denied the right to express the pain of separation with each other,” he said.
Phone services are active in other parts of valley apart from northern areas where even people can’t talk with each other through cellular phones. Subscribers are not only angry because they can’t use phones but also because they have been separated from their loved ones as the SMS facility is barred.
“Nothing can replace the charm of communicating through SMS anywhere in world,” says a local student. “SMS has its own life, nothing can replace it. SMS are like mantras which are recited within oneself at the time of depression and when I miss my boy friend,” Fatima says.
Looking at past, the SMS facility has been banned in the state for third time. During the 2008 Amarnath land agitation, SMS facility was banned in the state for many months.
A ban was also imposed on prepaid cell phones in November last year, but was revoked in January this year with strict conditions for identity verification of existing or new subscribers. In April this year, ban was imposed on SMS, but was revoked before within some hours.
SMS ban has also declined the business of recharge shopkeepers who don’t offer any SMS pack to subscribers. Most of the shopkeepers have closed their shops as they don’t have any balance in their recharge SIM cards.