Govt extends ban on high-speed mobile Internet in J&K

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

SRINAGAR — The government on Thursday extended ban on high-speed 3G and 4G Internet services till December 11 in all but two districts of J&K, citing apprehensions regarding disruptions to “extensive campaigning by the contesting candidates” in ensuing local body polls.

“With the announcement of elections to the District Development Council constituencies and by-elections to fill the vacancies in the Panchayati Raj Institutions/Urban Local Bodies, intense political activity is being witnessed across J&K, with extensive campaigning by the contesting candidates. At the same time, there have been continued attempts from across the border to disrupt the election process by vitiating the security environment,” reads an order issued by the Principal Secretary, Home, Shaleen Kabra.

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“The law enforcement agencies have well founded apprehensions of enhanced efforts by Pakistan for causing public disaffection, recruitment in the (militant) ranks as well as infiltration attempts, which heavily depend upon high speed Internet,” reads the order.

“There has also been a surge in (militant) activities, specific instances being that at Ban Toll Plaza, Nagrota, Jammu and Parimpora, Srinagar,” the order said, adding, “Upon consideration of the available inputs, and taking note of misuse of social media applications in carrying out (militant) activities as also in adversely impacting public order, it is apparent that there is need for continuation of the speed restrictions on mobile Internet services.”

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Accordingly, the Home department ordered continuation of ban on high speed Internet in all but two districts — Ganderbal and Udhampur — till December 11.

“The IsGP, Kashmir/Jammu shall communicate these directions to the service providers forthwith and ensure their implementation in letter and spirit,” the order added.

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