Yet again, the Jammu-Kashmir administration on Wednesday, extended its ban on the high-speed internet till 8 July 2020, limiting it to 2G speed only. Moreover, it stated that 2G speed internet has been provided to post-paid sim cards and provided to pre-paid sim cards after verification of norms. The government has maintained that the continued ban was in place to prevent infiltration attempts and curbing fake news, adding that neither education or COVID-related activities have been hampered.
J&K: High-speed internet ban extended till July 8
SC asks Centre to examine ‘high-speed’ internet demand
In May, the Supreme Court had refused to pass orders to restore 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir and instead directed the Centre to form a special committee to examine the petitioners’ demands. Advocate Salman Khurshid representing the petitioner argued that inspite of a review being done by J&K govt on a weekly basis, none of the review orders or info is available in public. He also raised the issue of students being unable to access educational lectures due to slow internet, infringing upon their right to education.
Current internet scenario in Kashmir
Restrictions have been put on communication links since August 5 in Jammu and Kashmir, these were subsequently eased, after Supreme Court upheld that the continued ban on the internet was ‘violation of freedom of expression’. Since the revocation, state-run internet provider BSNL has restored internet services throughout the Kashmir valley, but with a speed of 2G with special instructions. The temporary ban on social media sites was removed in March, however, complaints of inaccessibility persisted.
Consequently, the administration has reviewed the scenario on a monthly basis, but has repeatedly extended the ban on high-speed internet. Mobile internet services were also snapped across Kashmir after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo on May 6 and was later restored in a phased manner. Recently, the Valley has seen heightened terror activities with Congress Sarpanch Ajay Pandita being killed by terrorists, while Sarpanch Gulshan being threatened by terrorists.