Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Mobile internet in Kashmir Valley restored

Although it is not business as usual in Kashmir, there is some relief to citizens when authorities permitted 2G mobile internet to be restored after a 6-day internet blackout starting May 6.

Mobile Internet service is being restored in a phased manner in Kashmir from May 12 as per a senior government official’s response to the news agency Indo-Asian News Service (IANS).

Mobile internet was restored in Kashmir around 12 a.m. on Tuesday, along with short service messaging (SMS) service. SMS facility was also suspended since May 6 even on BSNL postpaid connections although calls could be made and received on such connections during the last six days. 

The 2G service restoration was ordered by Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary, Home Ministry who added that ‘high-speed internet can be used by inimical elements to coordinate terror attacks or incite people by circulating propaganda material’.

Portal to help stranded Kashmiris

The Supreme Court of India has refused the restoration of 4G services on mobile phones in Jammu and Kashmir. On August 4, 2019, all internet services in Jammu and Kashmir were suspended hours before the Centre announced the decision to bifurcate the state into the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The suspension of mobile telephony, except on postpaid BSNL connections, was ordered in Kashmir on May 6 after security forces killed a terrorist commander in an encounter.

The government adopts this precautionary measure involving a complete blackout of communication via the internet after a counter-insurgency operation or a major attack by militants in Kashmir. 

While these measures are required, the frequent disruptions in mobile services and internet connectivity is a major inconvenience for citizens of the Valley, especially children and hospitals that rely on reliable telephony and internet.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has launched a web portal to help its residents stranded in other parts of the country due to lockdown.

The portal gives updates to those registered and also allows a person to check his application status for facilitating journey back home, he said.

The portal has received over 2,156 hits in a span of two hours with almost 50 per cent for downloading the authorization by the government of J&K.


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