New Delhi: As Jammu and Kashmir administration restored broadband and data services for the Union Territory, Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs on Saturday said that she was Pleased to see incremental steps like partial return of internet service in the region. The top American diplomat also urged the Indian government to release Kashmiri political leaders detained without charge.

“Was Pleased to see incremental steps like partial return of internet service in Kashmir. We continue to urge govt to permit regular access by our diplomats and move swiftly to release political leaders detained without charge”, said Wells.

She also described the visit by US ambassador and other foreign diplomats to Jammu and Kashmir as “a useful step”.  On January 9, a group of 15 envoys and diplomats had visited the Kashmir valley where they interacted with select political representatives, civil society members as well as military top brass.

Since August 5, 2019, Kashmir valley has been under severe restrictions following the Narendra Modi-led central government decision to abrogate the Article 370.

However yesterday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration issued a statement and said that 2G internet services will be thrown open across all the 20 districts in the Union Territory effective Saturday. With 2G internet services set to be restored in all 20 districts of J&K from Saturday, all post-paid and prepaid subscribers will get access to internet. However, access will be limited to 301 whitelisted websites.

The directions will be effective from Saturday and will be in force till January 31 unless modified earlier, said an order issued by Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary, J&K government.