The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday extended the suspension of high-speed 4G internet services till January 22. The ban is extended to all districts except Ganderbal and Udhampur districts.
In a statement, Principal Secretary to the Union Territory administration Shaleen Kabra said that he was satisfied with the reports of law enforcement agencies that it was “absolutely necessary” to extend the ban “in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state and for maintaining public order.”
According to the statement, the law enforcement agencies were apprehensive about the misuse of high-speed internet for infiltration and coordination of terrorist activities based on the “ongoing cases and recent incident of interception of terrorists and recoveries of arms/ammunitions, with increased activity on IB/LoC [International border/ Line of Control].”
The administration had last on December 25 extended the ban till January 8. Then, the administration had cited the Panchayat elections that saw participation by political parties, and said that the “success” of the polls had gone down well with the “elements inimical to public peace and tranquility”.
The government has maintained that these security measures such as the internet ban 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.