New Delhi: Mobile Internet services have been restored to Kargil, which falls under the newly created Union territory of Ladakh, on Friday after a 145-day ban.
The services were snapped across all platforms in the Kashmir valley on the intervening night of August 4 and August 5. However, the entire Ladakh was brought under communication clampdown after protests erupted in the newly created Union Territory against the move.
The development and comes shortly after the government ordered the withdrawal of over 7,000 Paramilitary troops deployed in Kashmir after a period of over four months. A total of 72 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) have been ordered to “revert” to their locations across the country. These units drawn from the CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF and the SSB were sent to the Kashmir Valley after the Centre scrapped Article 370 provisions in Jammu and Kashmir. While this indicates that mobile internet will soon resume in J&K, there has been no confirmation on the same.
There had been growing demands from students, professionals and businessmen for the restoration of service as they claimed that its suspension had seriously 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 the law and order in Kashmir in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370.
The Centre announced the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5, following which restrictions, including suspension of internet and pre-paid mobile services, were imposed along with Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that bars gathering of more than four persons. In J&K, services were partially restored as some two dozen private subscribers were given back their connections after they signed a bond that they would use the internet services strictly for business purposes. Mobile internet services, however, are still not available in J&K.