SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday extended the 4G mobile internet ban till November 12 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”.
According to Government Order No: Home-114(TSTS) of 2020, whereas, the Special Committee constituted by the Supreme Court held its meeting to consider the continuation or otherwise of the directions regarding regulation of the Internet Services in the context of the views expressed by security agencies and administration of UT of J&K, especially related to the security aspects, the border security and the concerns on account of public order.
The order reads that the Committee noted that the internet speed related restrictions are not posing hindrance to COVID Control measures, access to educational programmes and carrying out of business activities.
“Whereas, the matter has been further considered in the meetings of the State Level Committee, in light of the observations of the Special Committee and assessment about the impact of the trial of opening up of high speed internet connectivity,” it reads.
“Whereas, various measures taken by the Government, especially during the recent past, to empower people have not gone down well with the separatist and militant organizations. There have been multiple instances of attacks on the security forces, political workers, etc. to subvert these initiatives and the political process which has been set in motion. There are apprehensions regarding misuse of the data services by the anti national elements, among other acts, for carrying out various activities inimical to the public order apart from misleading the youth to join militant ranks, which necessitates taking of pre-emptive measures, including imposition of restrictions on availability of internet commensurate to the gravity of the situation,” it added.
The order reads, “now, therefore, considering the necessity of speed related restrictions on mobile data services as brought out in the reports of the law enforcement agencies, I, Principal Secretary to the Government, Home Department, being satisfied that, it is absolutely 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 the 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 the high-speed mobile data services in the districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur shall continue to be made available, while in rest of the districts, the internet speed be restricted to 2G only.”
“While the post paid sim card holders shall continue to be provided access to the internet, these services shall not be made available on pre-paid cards unless verified as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections,” reads the order.
“Fixed line internet connectivity, without any speed related restrictions, shall continue to be made available with Mac-binding,” it reads.
“The aforesaid directions shall be effective from today, the 21st October 2020 and remain in force till 12th November 2020, unless modified earlier. The IsGP, Kashmir/Jammu shall ensure communication of these directions to the service providers forthwith and their implementation in letter and spirit,” reads the order issued by Principal Secretary Home Shaleen Kabra.