India government restores 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir 18 months after removal of special status News
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India government restores 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir 18 months after removal of special status

The Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) administration announced Friday that high speed 4G mobile internet had been restored in the entire union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, exactly one and a half years after it was cut in August 2019 when the central government abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that provided the special status of the erstwhile state.

The order issued by Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary to the J&K government, states, “Keeping in view the advice of the Special Committee and upon careful review of overall security scenario, I, Principal Secretary to the Home Department hereby revoke the restrictions on mobile data services and fixed-line internet connectivity placed vide Government Order dated January 22, 2021.”

The Special Committee that is being referred to in the order was constituted as per the directions of the Supreme Court in the case of Foundation for Media Professionals v. Union Territory of J&K to “look into the prevailing circumstances and immediately determine the necessity of the continuation of the restrictions in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir”. 

Internet services were suspended in the Jammu & Kashmir region on August 5, 2019, shortly before the Parliament of India abrogated Article 370 which stripped away the territory’s special status. According to the government, this was done to prevent strife and disturbances in a politically sensitive period. Numerous cases were pending before the Supreme Court arguing that the internet ban was unconstitutional, authoritative and a disproportionate restriction of fundamental rights. In March last year, the government had allowed resumption of the internet services but restricted the speed to 2G.

Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir Manoj Sinha said, “I thank the Hon’ble Prime Minister and Home Minister for acceding to our request and restoring 4G services in the entire Jammu & Kashmir UT. The move will fulfil the aspirations of the people, particularly the youth.”

Hospitals, businesses, schools and colleges have had to bear the brunt of slow internet speed and were heavily impacted especially during the COVID-19 lockdown. It is expected that the measure on Friday will help in returning the region to normalcy.