After five months, broadband, 2G Internet to be partially restored in Kashmir; No social media yet

After five months, broadband, 2G Internet to be partially restored in Kashmir; No social media yet
A security personnel checks a vehicle as others stand guard during snowfall, in Srinagar, Monday. Photo: PTI

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday 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.

However, quoting the official announcement, ND TV news said that social networking sites, however, would remain under complete restriction.

In a three-page order, the home department said additional 400 internet kiosks will be established in Kashmir division.

The move came five months after the Modi government scrapped the 'special status' to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and threw the state (now bifurcated into two Union territories) into an abyss with a communication lockdown.

Internet services were suspended on August 4, a day before Article 370 was revoked, and had remained suspended in the Valley since then.

Internet service providers will now offer broadband facility (with Mac binding) to all institutions dealing with essential services, hospitals, banks as also government offices.

Mac Binding means to enforce a client machine to work from a particular Internet Protocol address.

In order to facilitate tourism, broadband internet would be provided to hotels and tour and travel establishments.

The order also said that the 2G mobile connectivity on post-paid mobiles for accessing white-listed websites including e-banking will be allowed in districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi -- all in the Jammu region.

The order comes days after the Supreme Court had made harsh observation on the JK administration for snapping Internet services, which the apex court said was a fundamental right of the people.

There had been growing demands from students, professionals and business people for the restoration of service as they claimed that its suspension had severely affected their day to day activities.

Local traders said they could not file the goods and services tax (GST) and the income tax returns due to non-availability of internet. Hoteliers said they were unable to take bookings from tour and travel operators because of no internet.

Authorities said the suspension of the internet had become unavoidable as anti-national and anti-social elements were using it to upload inflammatory posts, statements and pictures to disturb law and order in Kashmir.

(With PTI inputs)

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