The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday extended the ban on high-speed 4G internet services till December 25, except in Ganderbal and Udhampur districts. Last month, the administration had extended the ban till Friday.
“The mobile internet services had to be suspended, although for limited periods of time and in specific areas, due to likelihood of misuse of the data services by the anti national elements to disrupt the democratic process by creating a scare among the voters, carrying out attacks on security forces, targeting of contesting candidates and the workers,” the order by Principal Secretary Home Department Shaleen Kabra read.
The government also justified the ban by saying that continuous attempts were being made to radicalise the youth through multiple ways, especially through videos using social media, “which rely on high speed internet for easy dissemination of such material”.
The government has maintained that such security measures were necessary to better integrate the region with India, foster greater economic development and stop threats from “anti-national elements” and Pakistan.
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 Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. 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”. On September 9, the Centre refused to extend high speed mobile internet outside the two districts, citing inputs about “terror modules” trying to lure youth into terrorist organisations.