SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday extended the 4G mobile internet ban till February 6 in all districts, except in Ganderbal and Udhampur.
Internet services were cut off in Jammu and Kashmir last year on August 5, hours before the Centre revoked Article 370 of the Constitution and split the state into two Union Territories. The low-speed or 2G internet service on mobile phones was restored on January 25, although outages continue to be imposed intermittently amid a complete ban on 4G network. On August 16, the government restarted high-speed mobile data service in Ganderbal and Udhampur districts on a “trial basis”, as part of “calibrated easing of restrictions”.
“Whereas, considering that the Union territory of J&K is battling the menace of terrorism, aided and abetted from across the border, and in view of well-founded apprehensions about the dissemination of inflammatory and seditious propaganda material that has a direct bearing on public order, limited restrictions on high-speed internet mobile services have been placed whilst allowing adequate access to the internet through broadband services over a landline,” reads the order.
“Whereas, the reports of the law enforcement agencies indicate that these restrictions have helped thwart the nefarious designs of the radical and terrorist organizations operating in the UT of J&K to misguide, provoke and incite the youth in furthering their anti-India agenda since regulation of high-speed mobile internet prevents easy streaming/dissemination/ downloading of such material/videos,” it reads.
“Whereas threat perception on the security front in J&K continues to be high and there are credible intelligence inputs about the preparedness of terrorists to infiltrate from across the IB/LoC, as is also borne out from recent infiltration attempts, umpteen number of ceasefire violations and seizure of arms/ ammunition. Reports further suggest that data services that rely on the availability of high-speed internet are extensively utilized for coordinating and facilitating infiltration,” reads the order.
“Now, therefore, upon assessment of impact of the directions for regulation of the telecom services on the overall security situation and maintenance of public order, while keeping in view the available alternatives, I, Principal Secretary to the Government, Home Department, being satisfied that it is necessary so to do, in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the Security of the State and for maintaining public order, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and sub-rule (1) of Rule 2 of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, hereby direct that access to internet shall be made available with the following restrictions,” it reads.
“The internet speed shall be continued to be restricted to 2G, except in the districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur, where mobile internet connectivity shall be continued to be made available without any speed-related restrictions,” the order reads.
“The postpaid SIM cardholders shall be continued to be provided the access to the internet, whereas, these services shall not be provided to the pre-paid SIM cards holders unless verified as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections,” it reads.
“Fixed-line Internet connectivity: Internet connectivity shall be continued to be made available, with Mac-binding,” it added.
“The aforesaid directions shall be effective from January 23, 2021, and remain in force till February 6, 2021, unless modified earlier. The IGsP, Kashmir/Jammu shall communicate these directions to the service providers forthwith and ensure their implementation in letter and spirit,” reads the order issued by home department.