Mobile internet services were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir once again on Thursday, PTI reported. Officials said the step was taken to prevent the spread of rumours about the health of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Authorities have also beefed up security at “vulnerable places” across Kashmir, said the officials.

On Wednesday night, a few social media posts had claimed that the condition of 90-year-old Geelani has deteriorated. Geelani’s family, however, said that his condition is stable. The Hurriyat Conference chairperson has been ill for some time now.

This is the third time in the last five days that mobile internet services have been suspended.

On Tuesday, the services were snapped on account of the death anniversary of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front founder Maqbool Bhat. The outfit had reportedly called for a shutdown in the region. On Sunday, services were cut off due to a bandh call by separatist groups on the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

The Centre had suspended internet services in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh on August 5, just before abrogating the special status of the former state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Mobile 2G internet services were restored in a limited way for both prepaid and postpaid connections only on January 25, after over five-and-a-half months. However, this access was for just 301 “whitelisted” websites.

This followed a series of steps taken by the central government to gradually lift the lockdown imposed in the region since August. Postpaid mobile phone services – but not internet – were restored across all networks in the Kashmir Valley on October 14. The Ladakh administration restored 4G mobile internet connectivity in Kargil on December 27, after a gap of 145 days. On the midnight of January 1, SMS services were restored. The administration restored broadband services in institutions dealing with “essential services” on January 15. Three days later, voice calls and SMS facilities were restored on prepaid mobile networks.