US Favors Continued Political, Economic Progress For Normalcy in J&K

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Washington: Five days after the government lifted a ban on high speed mobile internet, the United States on Wednesday welcomed the move and called for continued political and economic progress to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.

The reaction, perhaps first by the Biden administration vis-a-vis Jammu and Kashmir was put out by the State SCA (the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in the US State Department) on its official Twitter handle.

"We welcome the resumption of 4G mobile internet in India's Jammu and Kashmir. This marks an important step for local residents and we look forward to continued political and economic progress to restore normalcy in J&K," US State Department Tweeted.

On February 5, High speed mobile internet was restored in the entire union territory, exactly 550 days after it was snapped in August 2019 when the Centre had abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state.

The restriction on mobile internet services across the Union Territory, except Ganderbal and Udhampur districts, were till February 6.

The internet was completely shut in the erstwhile state on August 5, 2019 when the government announced abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and also its bifurcation into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Later, 2G services were restored on January 25 last year and 4G services on mobile devices in Ganderbal in Kashmir division and Udhampur in Jammu region was re-started in August last year.

This was done after the Centre had informed the Supreme Court that a special committee looking into the matter was considering allowing the facility on a trial basis in two of the 20 districts of the Union Territory.

The high-speed internet was restricted to only post-paid subscribers while pre-paid customers could enjoy the benefit of the services only after completing the verification process.

The apex court is also hearing a plea by an NGO seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of JK for their alleged "wilful disobedience" in complying with the court's May 11 order which had directed for constituting a committee that would go into the possibilities of restoring high-speed internet in the union territory. (With PTI Inputs)

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