Other States

J&K Internet links partially restored

Jammu and Kashmir administration on January 14, 2020 evening allowed mobile Internet in parts of Jammu region and broadband in hotels, travel establishments and hospitals but only on white-listed websites, official said.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration issued orders late on Tuesday to partially restore broadband Internet facilities in Kashmir Valley and 2G mobile connectivity in five districts in Jammu region.

The order said there will be complete restriction on social media applications that may facilitate “peer to peer communication.”

On January 10, the Supreme Court had ordered the restoration of Internet for all essential services in J&K.

Internet connectivity has remained suspended in J&K since August 5 when Union Home Minister Amit Shah moved two Bills in the Rajya Sabha to revoke the special status of J&K under Article 370 and downgrade and bifurcate the State into Union Territories.

While in Jammu division, broadband Internet was restored last year, the Kashmir Valley remained without Internet. 844 e-terminals were set up in the Valley for general public.

The order said that The orders said the Kashmir administration would establish 400 additional Internet kiosks and directed service providers to provide “broadband facility” to all the institutions dealing with essential services, hospitals, banks, government offices, hotels, tour and travel establishments.

“Prior to giving such facility, the lnternet Service Providers shall install necessary firewalls and carry out ‘white-listing‘ of sites that would enable access to Government websites,websites dealing with essential services, e-banking, etc. excluding, however, all the social media sites. To amplify, there shall be complete restriction on social media applications allowing peer to peer communication and virtual private network applications for the time being,” the order issued by Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary, Home Department, J&K said.

Earlier this month, the J&K administration had announced that it was restoring broadband Internet facilities in hospitals, schools and other facilities.

“2G mobile connectivity on post paid mobiles for accessing white-listed sites, including for e banking, shall be allowed, to begin with, in the districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi. However, in the other districts, the mobile Internet connectivity should remain suspended,” the order said.

The order said that the Institutions and Government offices that will be provided Internet access shall be “responsible to prevent any misuse, for which they shall take all the necessary precautions, including appointment of nodal officers, keeping a record of persons/devices, managing and monitoring day to day usage, changing accessibility credentials on a daily basis and ensure internet availability to only authorized users, etc.”

Complying with the Supreme Court directions on January 10, the order stated the reasons for suspending the Internet.

It said that terror modules, separatists, anti national elements operating in the UT of J&K are attempting to aid and incite people by transmission of fake news and targeted messages through use of Internet to propagate terrorism and cause disaffection and discontent.

The order said that based on the intelligence inputs, “the law enforcement agencies while detailing the present situation, have inter alia reported about the sustained efforts being made by the terrorists to infiltrate from across the border, re-activate their cadres and scale up anti-national activities in Kashmir Division as well as terrorism affected areas of the Jammu Division, by communicating effectively with their operatives through Voice on Internet Protocol (VOIP) and encrypted mobile communication through various social media applications to co ordinate and plan terror acts.”

It said that the misuse of data services by anti-national elements has the potential to cause large scale violence and disturb public order which has till now been maintained due to various pre-emptive measures, including restrictions on access to Internet with relaxations in a calibrated and gradual manner, after due consideration of the ground situation.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 8:36:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/broadband-2g-internet-partially-restored-in-jammu-and-kashmir/article30570031.ece

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