The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday decided against extending the 4G mobile internet facility outside the districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur, citing apprehensions about possible misuse by those indulging in terror activities. However, it said the high-speed facility which was restored on a trial basis in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal and Jammu region’s Udhampur on August 16 would continue till this month-end as there has been no report of its misuse in the two districts.
In an order issued this evening, Principal Secretary in the Home Department Shaleen Kabra said that after a fresh review of the situation, it has been decided that internet speed will remain restricted to 2G in the rest of the 18 districts. The order said that the law enforcement agencies have furnished credible inputs on terror modules making sustained efforts to provoke sentiments of gullible youths and lure them into terrorist organisations and “indicated potential misuse of high-speed data services in disturbing public order".
The agencies have also expressed apprehensions that the high-speed data services can be misused for assisting infiltration attempts by terrorists. The 4G mobile internet services in Ganderbal and Udhampur would continue till September 30, unless modified earlier, the order said, adding no report of misuse has been received from the two districts.
In the rest of 18 other districts, the internet speed would continue to be restricted to 2G only, it said. The internet services were snapped in Jammu and Kashmir before the Centre’s announcement on August 5 last year to scrap J-K’s special status and split it into two Union Territories.
However, the 2G internet facility on mobile phones was restored on January 25 this year. The resumption of 4G internet services in Ganderbal and Udhampur after a gap of one year on August 16 came days after the Centre had informed the Supreme Court that a special committee looking into the matter was considering allowing the facility on a trial basis in two districts of the Union Territory.
The order said: “Whereas the law enforcement agencies have furnished credible inputs that the terror modules operating in various parts of the UT of J&K, with active support from across the border as well as separatists/anti-national elements from within, are making sustained efforts to provoke sentiments of the gullible youth and lure them into terrorist organizations to fill the vacuum created by the killing of many terrorists."
Also, the agencies have reported infiltration attempts by terrorists, along the LoC (Line of Control) and the IB (International Border), and apprehension of facilitation of these attempts if high-speed mobile data services are restored. They have also indicated potential misuse of high-speed data services in disturbing public order, Kabra said in his order. However, he said the review committee, while taking note of the assessment made by the law enforcement agencies, observed that no reports of misuse of high-speed internet services in the districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur had been reported but said the situation needed to be monitored closely.
After considering the reports of law enforcement agencies, inter-alia, bringing out the necessity of speed-related restrictions on mobile data services, and upon assessment of the available alternatives, Kabra said the 4G mobile internet services in Ganderbal and Udhampur would continue till September 30, unless modified earlier. “In the rest of 18 districts, the internet speed would continue to be restricted to 2G only," the order said.