2G mobile internet restored in Kashmir

2G mobile internet restored in Kashmir

Journalists uses their mobile phone as government orders for the restoration of pre-paid mobile services and 2G internet services. (PTI Photo)

In a huge relief to people ahead of Republic Day, Jammu and Kashmir government Friday night ordered restoration of 2G data services on mobile phones and internet access on fixed line telephones.

But the access on mobile data will be limited only to 301 'white-listed' sites identified by the administration. It will be for the first time in little less than six months that Kashmir will get 2G internet services on all post and pre-paid mobile telephones, which was snapped hours before Center abrogated J&K's special status under Article 370 on August 5.

According to a notification by the home department, restrictions on social media websites that allow “peer to peer communication and Virtual Private Network Application” will continue. The restoration of 2G internet facility on mobile phones will continue till January 31 after which it would be reviewed further, the order said. 

The administration has fixed the responsibility of Internet Service Providers to ensure that access is allowed to 'white-listed' sites only through mobile data services.

"All those who are provided access to the internet will be responsible to prevent any misuse, for which they will take all necessary precautions including change of accessibility credentials, maintaining records, etc. along with the precautions,” the Home Department notified.

The government order said that Inspector Generals of Police (IGPs) of Jammu and Kashmir divisions will ensure communication of directions to Telecom and Internet Service providers forthwith and ensure implementation of the directions with immediate effect.

The weekly review comes after a Supreme Court order on curbs in the Valley. In response to a petition earlier this month, the apex court had observed that suspension of free movement, internet and basic freedoms cannot be an arbitrary exercise of power, adding that Internet connectivity was integral to an individual's right to freedom of speech and expression.

The three-judge bench led by Justice NV Ramanna also maintained that "expression of dissent or disagreement against a government decision cannot be reason enough for Internet suspension."