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Social media makes a ‘silent’ comeback to Valley

Back in action:People using Internet services on their mobile phones in Srinagar.PTI

Back in action:People using Internet services on their mobile phones in Srinagar.PTI  

Order makes no mention of the ban on these platforms

Nearly 65 lakh mobile Internet users in Kashmir were able to use social media platforms after seven months on Wednesday.

The order issued by the government on Wednesday on Internet connectivity is, however, silent on whether the ban imposed on social media on January 25 has been withdrawn or not, but access has been provided.

“Upon regular assessment of impact of the directions for regulation of the telecom services on the overall security situation and maintenance of public order, the Internet speed shall be restricted to 2G till March 17. Fixed-line Internet connectivity shall continue to be made available with Mac-binding,” reads the order of Principal Secretary, Home, Shaleen Kabra.

White-listed sites

The J&K Home Department on January 25 issued an order to restore the 2G mobile service, the first time since August 5, but “allowed access to the 301 white-listed sites and not to any social media applications allowing peer-to-peer communication and virtual private networks (VPNs) applications”.

Since then, the Home Department orders repeated the ban on use of social media and VPNs.

The latest order is silent over the social media platforms and the use of VPNs and is being construed by the users as withdrawal of the ban.

The service providers, the order said, have been asked to provide access only after pre-paid SIMs are “verified as per the norms applicable to post-paid connections”.

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