SRINAGAR – A senior police officer on Monday asserted that government-run BSNL can restart its broadband services in Kashmir valley if it installs firewall to stop social media, which has been used in the past to instigate violence and spread rumours.
Meanwhile, sources in the state-run telecom company told newsgathering agency UNI that the services will be restored very soon as the firewall has been put in place and tests are being run on its efficiency.
The high speed internet and broadband service remained suspended in the valley since August 5, when centre abrogated special status and divided the state into two Union Territories (UTs).
However, 2G internet service on pre and post paid mobile phones of all Cellular companies continued in the Kashmir valley, where people are able to assess only white-listed sites approved by the UT administration.
“All the high speed internet and broadband service providers in the valley have been asked to start services once they install firewall to stop social media and use of VPN apps,” Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar said.
He further said once BSNL installs the firewall, it is free to start broadband internet service for all its users, including common people.
Some local service providers have started the service to selected customers after getting undertaking that the internet will not be misused to access social media though VPN apps.
Asserting that the Union Territory administration and security forces are well aware about people using VPN apps to access social media sites despite a ban by Home department, J&K police chief Dilbag Singh had last week said that police is currently concerting on miscreants who are misusing Facebook and WhatsApp to spread rumours in the valley.
He also hinted at taking action against people, who are not misusing social media, but accessing it though VPN apps once they have dealt with miscreants who are spreading rumours to instigate violence.
The DGP has also appealed general public not to use social media via VPN apps. “Our main priority is the deal with people who are misusing social media and spreading rumours. Our second priority is to deal with the rest of the people who are accessing social media through VPN despite a ban. Currently we are concentrating only on the first priority,” Mr Singh had said.
The Jammu and Kashmir police last week lodged an FIR against locals for using social media platforms on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
Mobile internet and broadband service of all Cellular companies was suspended in the Kashmir valley on August 5, 2019, when centre scrapped Article 370 and 35 A besides divided the state into two Union Territories (UTs).
However, 2G mobile internet service was resumed on January 25 while high speed internet and broadband remained suspended. The social media sites also remained banned and government had directed people to assess only whitelisted sites.