41 hour internet ban stretched to 82 hours

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Police issues warning against ‘misuse’ of internet

Srinagar: The blanket ban imposed on the mobile and broadband internet services in Kashmir region for 41 hours and later stretched to 82 hours was removed Monday morning giving much needed breather to an already choked population.

Kashmir Division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir remained disconnected and shrouded under a blanket internet ban stretching over a period of over 80 hours. This is a violation of the initial order to gag the internet for 41 hours, circulated by the policfe department to the service providers. However, the ban was extended without any formal communication. Instead of the 41 hour timeline, the ban extended to 82 hours.

The ban on broadband, mobile data and GPRS  instead of being  put in place at 5 AM on Friday kicked in around 12 and authorities extended it and broadband services were restored on 8 PM Sunday in some areas while as mobile internet was restored on 10 AM Monday.

The decision was taken in the backdrop of the Jammu High Court ruling criminalizing bovine slaughtering in the state, which was protested widely by Muslims. Terming it as ‘interference in religious affairs’, many Muslim religious scholars had condemned the move and had asked people to make preferably cow slaughter on the EID.

Taking precautionary measures, authorities suspended internet services across state to stop elements from sharing bovine slaughtering photos and videos on Facebook and other social networking sites on Eid eve.

The internet clampdown was widely criticized by people terming the move was ‘illegal and unethical.’ 

However, after the blanket ban for three days, the mobile and broadband internet services were completely restored in Kashmir region today in the morning.

All the telecommunication companies operating in Kashmir including BSNL had shutdown their data services including 2G/3G and landline broadband on September 25 at 1200 AM following government directions.

Initially the ban was only up to September 26 (10 PM) but it was later extended till September 27 (0200 PM). However on September 27, it was again extended. Though the broadband internet was restored yesterday at 8:00 PM but the mobile internet was restored today at 10 AM.

The internet shutdown put residents to extreme inconvenience while almost all the sections of society criticized government for the move.

Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) slammed the government for imposing the three day internet ban in state on Eid-ul-Azha.

President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that gag on internet was unethical as patients were denied of access to medical services.

“Patient care was worst hit and patients suffered the consequences of internet blockade”. “This autocratic step to block all communications is a testimony to the fact that Kashmir is a big jail where people are caged and deprived of all rights”

Meanwhile, with the resumption of internet services, Police have warned of action under law against those who ‘misuse’ mobile phone,  SMS and internet messages intended to stoke communal tension.

“Misuse of mobile phone SMS and Internet messaging service to spread malicious rumors with an intention to stoke communal tension and violent activity constitutes commission of offences under the various provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prev) Act, the Information Technology Act and Ranbir Penal Code” said a police spokesman said adding “anyone who forwards such messages (including audio, photos or videos) to other individuals or groups shall be liable for legal action under law.”

Besides ban on internet, police has also warned of legal action under the various provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prev) Act 1967, the Information Technology Act and Ranbir Penal Code against the person for sharing or uploading “malicious rumors” with an intention to spark communal tension in the state.

Meanwhile, from opposition National Conference, separatists, business sector to netizens, people widely criticized the internet clampdown terming it as “unjustified.”

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