2G Internet services to continue till November 12 in J&K

Youth accessing internet on their phones in Srinagar
Youth accessing internet on their phones in Srinagar (Courtesy: Shuaib Masoodi/Indian Express)

SRINAGAR — The ban on high-speed mobile data services will continue till November 12 across Jammu and Kashmir except two districts including Ganderbal in Kashmir and Udhampur in Jammu division, an order issued by the government said on Wednesday.

An order under number Home-114(TSTS) of 2020, dated 21-10-2020 issued by Principal Secretary to the Government, Shaleen Kabra, reads that “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 J&K, especially related to the security aspects, the border security and the concerns on account of public order.”

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“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. 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,” the order reads.

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“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, aided and abetted from across the border. 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.”

It added that 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.”

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Subsequently, the government ordered 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 speed be restricted to 2G only.

The order said that restrictions shall remain in force till November 12 or unless modified earlier.

“The IsGP, Kashmir and Jammu have been asked to ensure communication of these directions to the service providers forthwith and their implementation in “letter and spirit,” the order reads.

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