New Delhi: After six months of clampdown, internet services will be restored in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. This comes a day after Jammu and Kashmir administration issued orders directing the reinitiating of broadband and data services for the Union Territory. Also Read - Jammu And Kashmir Lt Governor Assures Protection of Land And Jobs
However, network speed will be restricted to 2G, an order issued by the home department of the Jammu and Kashmir administration stated. “Access shall be limited to 301 whitelisted sites and not to any social media applications allowing peer to peer communication and Virtual Private Network Application”, the order read. With this move, all post-paid and prepaid subscribers will also get access to internet. Also Read - Jammu and Kashmir: SMS, Voice Calls to be Restored For Prepaid Mobile Users a Week After SC Prod
“The directions will be effective from Saturday and will be in force till January 31 unless modified earlier”, the order issued by Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary, J&K government added.
Notably, this is the biggest breakthrough in internet connectivity in the region since August 5 last year when the government imposed restrictions on mobile internet in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370.
On January 15, broadband services to essentials services restored following the directions of the Supreme Court.
“It is no doubt that freedom of speech is an essential tool in a democratic set up. Freedom of Internet access is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of free speech”, a three-judge bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai had stated earlier this month.
Earlier last year in August, the Narendra Modi-led government had revoked Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into union territories- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which officially came into existence from October 31, 2019.
Following the government’s move, severe restrictions were imposed in the Valley as a precautionary measure. Additional troops were also deployed and section 144 was imposed on parts of the territory. Apart from these, all means of communication were also suspended.