J&K Government spokesperson Rohit Kansal on Friday announced that high-speed mobile data services will be restored across the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
“4G mobile internet services being restored in entire J&K,”. Kansal said in a tweet.
However, Kansal did not provide any timeframe for the restoration of the internet services.
4G mobile internet services being restored in entire J&K @diprjk— Rohit Kansal (@kansalrohit69) February 5, 2021
“I actually see some people going out of their way to thank government functionaries for 4G restoration. They're not offering us charity. We should be asking for compensation for our deprivation and losses,” says senior journalist and Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin.
“4G Mubarak! For the first time since Aug 2019 all of J&K will have 4G mobile data. Better late than never,” former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.
4G Mubarak! For the first time since Aug 2019 all of J&K will have 4G mobile data. Better late than never.— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) February 5, 2021
The announcement by Kansal has come at a time when the J&K administration recently extended the ban on 4G mobile data services till February 6.
In the latest order, the government had said certain restrictions have been placed on the access of high-speed mobile data connectivity in order to curb the uploading and circulation of provocative videos to defeat the nefarious designs of the forces “within and from across the border to create a narrative by running a disinformation campaign.”
On August 4, 2019, a day before the BJP government revoked Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, the government imposed a communication blockade. Internet services remained completely shut for the next several months.
Then on January 10, 2020, replying to a petition filed by Anuradha Bhasin, the Supreme Court declared that freedom of speech and expression and freedom to practice any profession over the medium of the internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(1)(g).
After the top court’s order, the government since January 14, 2019, issued series of orders extending 2G internet services or snapping the internet services altogether.
In its first order on January 14 last year, the government had said that “the police authorities have brought to notice material relating to the terror modules operating in Jammu and Kashmir and spreading propaganda to cause disaffection and discontent” as a reason to continue with limited internet speed.
Ever since the Supreme Court passed the judgement to extend 2G internet services, the government has issued around 150 such orders— on occasions such as District Development Committee (DDC) elections.
Without citing any reason, internet services were suspended in south Kashmir region even on the day Kansal announced that 4G services will be restored in the entire Union Territory.