“The internet speed shall be continued to be restricted to 2G, except the districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur, where mobile internet connectivity shall be continued to be made available without any speed related restrictions,” the government order read.
The administration cited the recently held Panchayat elections that saw participation by political parties, and said that it had gone down well with the “elements inimical to public peace and tranquility”. “The successful conduct of the recently concluded election, which witnessed participation of political parties across the spectrum and large scale voter turnout, has not gone down well with the elements inimical to public peace and tranquillity, as apparent from the multiple incidents of hurling of grenades by terrorists since the conclusion of the election process, targeting civilians/police personnel/security forces and the encounter with security forces,” the order stated.
There were credible inputs that a large number of militants were trying to infiltrate from across the border, adding that curbs on high speed internet had obstructed the attempts, the order said. The government also said there had been efforts to lure local youth to join militant groups.
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 on August 5, 2019, 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.