Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday ordered continuance of ban on the high speed internet across the Union Territory till April 27, despite growing chorus and sharp criticism by the human rights bodies amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Principal Secretary, Home Department, Shaleen Kabra in an order issued today extended the ban on high speed internet across the Union Territory till April 27, reports said. According to the order, internet speed on mobile phones in the region will be restricted to 2G only.
The order cites usage of social media applications for circulation of photographs of militants, mobilization of crowds, infiltration attempts by militants, civilian killings as some of the reasons to extend high speed internet ban.
The order also refers to the funeral of a militant attended by 500 villagers “defying the lock-down and throwing social-distancing norms to the wind,”
As on date, it said, access to internet is available through fixed line without any speed restrictions. However, in respect of mobile internet, speed has been restricted to 2G.
“While these restrictions have not posed any hindrance to COVID-19 control measures, they have reduced incidents of misuse of social media by way of uploading and circulation of provocative audio/video content, fake news, rumour mongering, coordination of militant activities and other such acts that rely upon high speed mobile connectivity,” reads the order.
“Upon consideration of the available inputs, and taking note of ‘misuse’ of social media applications in militant activities as also in adversely impacting public order, it is apparent that there is need for continuation of the speed restrictions on mobile internet services,” the order adds.
Postpaid sim card holders shall be provided with access to internet. However, such access shall not be made available on prepaid sim cards unless verified as per the norms applicable for postpaid connections, the order said.
Fixed line internet connectivity with mac-binding shall be available, it added.
“The directions shall be effective from 16.04.2020 and remain in force till 27.04.2020 unless modified earlier.” The order adds.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.