The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday extended the suspension of internet till February 6, saying the services will continue to be restricted to 2G. The ban is extended to all districts except Ganderbal and Udhampur districts.
In an order, the administration said postpaid SIM card holders will be provided access to internet, while those with prepaid SIM cards will not. “Internet connectivity shall be continued to be made available, with Mac-binding,” the order said about fixed line internet connectivity.
Principal Secretary to the Union Territory administration Shaleen Kabra said that he was satisfied with the reports of law enforcement agencies that it was 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 order, the law enforcement agencies’ reports indicated that the suspension had helped thwart plans of militant organisations operating in the Union Territory to “misguide, incite and provoke the youth in furthering their anti-India agenda since regulation of high speed internet mobile internet prevents easy streaming/dissemination/downloading of such material/videos”.
The administration had last on January 8 extended the ban till January 22. 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, 2020, although outages continue to be imposed intermittently amid a complete ban on 4G network.
On August 16 last year, the government restarted high-speed mobile data service in Ganderbal and Udhampur districts on a “trial basis”, as part of a “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.