Heart-wrenching! Former Kashmiri journalist calls friend after 70 days of ban on mobile phones, told she died 40 days ago

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The administration in Kashmir on Monday lifted the ban on post-paid mobile phones after 71 days. Although it’s been only 24 hours since post-paid mobile phones have been restored, heart-wrenching stories have started to flood social media platforms. The notable among them is a Facebook post by a former Kashmiri journalist Irfan Rashid, who wrote to inform how his friend Basra had passed away without his knowledge during the restriction period.

Kashmiri journalist
Photo: Abid Bhat (Kashmir Observer)

Rashid, who previously worked for the Hindustan Times, wrote on Facebook, “Dialled her (Basra’s) number after 70 days with all the energy, strangeness, eagerness, but above all with love. It was 3pm. A different voice answered from the other side. I understood it is her mom. I said salaam to aunty and enquired about Basra.”

According to Rashid, his query was met with an eerie silence from the other side. “I assumed phone network is weak that is why aunty didn’t hear what I said. The moment I repeated my sentence, she bursted (sic) into tears, sobbing like a child, crazy like a lunatic, tears flowing with cries. Basra is dead. Today is her 40th day,” Rashid’s post read.



His Facebook post has now gone viral with nearly one thousand shares. The screenshot of his gutwrenching post has also gone viral on Twitter evoking strong reactions. One user on Facebook wrote, “I’m saddened beyond words to hear this. Stay strong brother.” Another commented, “This tore my heart out. I am literally in tears.”

Similar sentiments were seen on Twitter after one Sania Ahmed shared the screenshot of Rashid’s post. She wrote, “This was the first thing I saw this morning. And cried. Irfan is a former journalist who was in Delhi, preparing for IAS. Basra was the love of his life. And don’t you dare come do whataboutery here. Don’t you dare.”



One Twitter user commented, “It’s heartbreaking. No words. Just bow my head with shame and helplessness.” Another wrote, “Seriously. This is really horrible.”

While post-paid mobile phones have been restored after weeks of ban, the restriction on internet services will continue to remain in force in the valley. The ban was imposed coinciding the announcement on the abrogation of Article 370 on Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August.

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