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J&K Govt Extends Ban on High-speed Internet Till May 11, Says It Has Well-founded Apprehensions

Image for representation: A security personnel stands guard at a closed market, in Srinagar. (PTI/File Photo)

Image for representation: A security personnel stands guard at a closed market, in Srinagar. (PTI/File Photo)

These services will not be available on pre-paid SIM cards unless verified as per the norms applicable for postpaid connections, said an order by J&K home department’s principal secretary Shaleen Kabra.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday extended the ban on high-speed mobile internet in the region till May 11, deciding to restrict data speed to only 2G limits on post-paid SIM cards.

These services will not be available on pre-paid SIM cards unless verified as per the norms applicable for postpaid connections, said an order by J&K home department’s principal secretary Shaleen Kabra. There would be no speed restrictions on the internet through landline broadband.

The order says that the restrictions are necessary to defeat the nefarious designs from across the border to propagate terrorism.

“Such restrictions have been placed in order to curb uploading, downloading and circulation of provocative videos, guard against rumour mongering/fake news, prevent the use of encrypted messaging and VOIP services for infiltration and coordinating terror activities,” it says.

The Centre had last week told the Supreme Court that militancy in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be overlooked while making a decision on restoring 4G internet in the region.

There have been growing calls to restore 4G services amid the coronavirus pandemic so that people can connect with doctors virtually in case of an emergency because of the lockdown.

Without 4G internet services, schools are also facing problems in holding virtual classes for their students amid the lockdown.

But the administration justified the extended ban by referring to the recent spurt in violence with the launch of new terror outfits. “The field agencies have well-founded apprehensions of enhanced effort by Pakistan for recruitment in terrorists’ ranks as well as infiltration attempts, which heavily depend on high-speed internet,” the order further said.

first published:April 27, 2020, 22:30 IST