Srinagar, Aug 24 : As the gag on all means of communication, including mobile phones, broadband and landline services continued for the 20th successive day on Saturday, security force personnel deployed in different parts of Kashmir valley were finding it difficult to contact their family members.
Even though the authorities have set up hotlines for jawans in their respective camps to contact their families, the security force personnel alleged that after long and hectic hours of duty, they have to wait for their turn, for hours.
'After standing guard on streets from early morning to late evening, we have to wait for hours in a queue to make a phone call to our anxious families, who always remain concerned about our welfare, because of the prevailing situation in Kashmir… It becomes difficult as after waiting for our turn to make a phone call after a hectic shift, we hardly get any time to rest,' Manoj Kumar, a jawan deployed in downtown Srinagar, said.
He said earlier, when the mobile phone service was operational, he used to call home two to three times a day, to inquire about his pregnant wife. However, he said after suspension of the mobile phone service, he hardly makes one call in two to three days. 'You see, it becomes difficult when you have many things on your plate… more arrangements should be made for us, so that we can stay in touch with our families,' he added.
Similar views were expressed by security force personnel deployed in different parts of Srinagar. The most affected were the personnel, who have been deployed in the valley for the first time.
'By the time I got to make a phone call, it was midnight. Luckily, I spoke with my father, mother and wife, but could not talk to my five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. I really miss them,' another Jawan, posted for the first time in the valley, said.
A CRPF officer, on the condition of anonymity, said that long hours of duty, coupled with insufficient accessibility to communicate with the family, is taking a toll on the security force personnel.
'We have tried to make arrangements for our personnel to stay in touch with their families… hotlines have been setup in the camps. But, one needs to understand that the number of phone lines that could be setup in the camps is limited and can not cater to everyone all the time,' he said.
He said the anxiety level of security force personnel has been increasing with each passing day due to the communication gag.
Meanwhile, normal life remained crippled as shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads for the 20th successive day on Saturday, due to restrictions imposed by authorities and a strike against the scrapping of special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The gag on all means of communication has further added to the sufferings of people, who are finding it difficult to get in touch with their family and friends not just outside the valley, but within as well, due to restrictions and strike. (UNI)