SRINAGAR: The J&K Government on Tuesday extended the 4G mobile internet ban till September 30 in Jammu and Kashmir except Ganderbal and Udhampur districts.
Internet was banned in Jammu and Kashmir together with phone connectivity on August 5, 2019, when the Government of India stripped the State of its special Constitutional position. Thereafter phones were restored in a phased manner and low-speed 2G internet was resumed on January 25, 2020. High-speed 4G internet was restored in two districts on August 16 and is still banned in other districts of J&K.
In an order, Principal Secretary Home Department Shaleen Kabra said whereas, in pursuance of the recommendations made by the Special Committee in its meeting dated 10.08.2020 for considering calibrated easing of restrictions in limited and comparatively less sensitive geographical areas, read with the reports of the law enforcement agencies, vide Government Order No: Home-91(TSTS) of 2020 dated 16.08.2020, the following directions relating to high speed internet services in various districts were issued.
“The high speed mobile data services in the districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur shall be restored forthwith, on trial basis, while in rest of the districts, the internet speed shall continue to be restricted to 2G only,” reads the order.
“While the postpaid sim cardholders 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,” it reads.
“Internet connectivity, without any speed-related restrictions, shall continue to be made available with Mac-binding,” it added.
“Whereas, the aforesaid directions were reviewed by the Review Committee on 21.08.2020 and 01.09.2020. The Committee, while taking note of the assessment made by the law enforcement agencies that no reports of misuse of high-speed internet services in the Districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur had been reported, observed that the situation needed to be monitored closely,” reads the order.
“Whereas, the law enforcement agencies have furnished credible inputs that the militant modules operating in various parts of the UT of J&K, with active support from across the border as well as separatists/anti-national elements from within, are making sustained efforts to provoke sentiments of the gullible youth and lure them into militant organizations to fill the vacuum created by the killing of many militants. Also, the agencies have reported infiltration attempts by militants, along the LoC and the IB, and apprehension of facilitation of these attempts if high speed mobile data services are restored. They have also indicated potential of misuse of high speed data services in disturbing public order,” it reads.
“Now, therefore, considering the reports of the law enforcement agencies, inter-alia, bringing out the necessity of speed related restrictions on mobile data services, and upon assessment of the available alternatives, 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 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 order that the directions indicated at para 1 above shall continue to remain in force till 30lh September, 2020, unless modified earlier,” it added.
“The IsGP, Kashmir/Jammu, who are the authorized officers in their respective areas of jurisdiction 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 Department Shaleen Kabra.