No 4G Services in J&K, Faster Internet Will be Used by Terrorists: UT Administration Tells SC

A file photo of the Supreme Court.

A file photo of the Supreme Court.

In its affidavit submitted in response to a petition by Foundation for Media Professionals, the J&K Principal Home Secretary has maintained that the existing 2G services are sufficient for accessing all necessary information.


Utkarsh Anand

New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir administration has opposed in the Supreme Court restoration of 4G Internet services in the Union Territory, stating that faster data may be used by terror outfits for inciting people and planning attacks.

In its affidavit submitted in response to a petition by Foundation for Media Professionals, the J&K Principal Home Secretary has maintained that the existing 2G services are sufficient for accessing all necessary information and that the restriction on speed was keeping in view the sovereignty and security of the nation.

"Now that the restrictions on use of social media have been eased, if speed is not limited to 2G, the high-speed internet will enable the spread of any fake news/rumors and transfer of heavy data files (audio/video files) will become prevalent which may be utilized by terror outfits for incitement as also in planning attacks," stated the affidavit.

It added that miscreants were using different VPNs but because of low-speed mobile data services, were not able to upload files of heavy data containing incriminating and other objectionable videos.

"Pakistan based terrorism handlers like TRF and TMI, instigating youth to join terrorism, are using messaging applications to communicate as also to raise the morale of terrorists; however 2G mobile data services considerably restrict the use of such Applications," added the affidavit.

The administration further submitted in the court that restoration of 4G mobile data services will substantially increase the use of social media and other online platforms in uploading/downloading of videos and other propaganda material and their fast circulation, with resultant deterioration in law and order situation in Kashmir Valley.

"For any upload/ download of a typically heavy data file, the present speed restrictions increase the time taken or lead to failure, frustrating the evil designs of terrorists," it said.

"The internet is being used to support fallacious proxy wars by raising money, recruiting and spreading propaganda/ideologies. The

prevalence of the internet provides an easy inroad to young impressionable minds," J&K further stated.

It also furnished details of terrorist incidents after August 5 when the Central government did away with the special status of the J&K.

Till April 25, the affidavit said, 108 terrorism-related incidents took place with 99 Incidents reported from Kashmir Province while 9 others from Jammu province.

"30 civilians lost their lives, while 114 civilians were injured in terrorist-related incidents. 20 Security forces personnel were martyred and 54 SF personnel were injured. 76 terrorists were killed apart from arrest of 132 terrorists/ suspects," stated the affidavit.

The administration also said that the right to access the Internet is not a fundamental right in itself but an enabler of right to free speech and carry out trade and business.

"A very reasonable quantum of restrictions have been imposed by way of reducing the speed of internet which is not only least restrictive but also most appropriate and has reasonable nexus with object/purpose sought to be achieved by the order, i.e. protecting the sovereignty, integrity, security of State, being in the interest of general public while ensuring that rights and interests of the citizens are not adversely affected thereby," it added.

The administration said that the UT machinery is making sure all relevant services, including those related to health and education, are being provided to citizens in J&K also through additional means of communication such as satellite and cable TVs, radio, video-recorded programmes.

The petition by Foundation for Media Professionals, filed through advocate Shadan Farasat, had sought for restoration of 4G data services in J&K.

The plea contended that the Internet slowdown in Jammu & Kashmir during the COVID-19 crisis violate fundamental rights to healthcare, education, livelihood and justice guaranteed by the Constitution of India.

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