Internal Security

J&K administration removes social media curbs, internet speed restricted to 2G only: Reports

The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration on March 4 announced that curbs on social media usage in the Union Territory, which were in place since August 5, when the government abrogated Article 370 of Indian Constitution, will be removed.

According to a report by The Indian Express, the move came after a review of the situation in the UT by the J&K Home Department.

“Internet access across the Union Territory with internet speed restricted to 2G only and internet connectivity with Mac-binding to continue till 17th March, 2020. The directions to remain in force unless modified earlier,” the administration said in a statement, according to news agency ANI.

“While the post paid sim card holders shall continue to be provided access to the internet, these services shall not be made available on pre-paid sim cards unless verified as per norms applicable for post-paid connections,” the statement added.

The order was issued without a ‘whitelist’ of the websites, according to the report.

The Indian government had, on August 5, 2019, abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants special status to J&K. It had also passed the J&K Reorganisation Bill, bifurcating the state into Union Territories. The Act had come to force in October 2019.

In January, 2G mobile internet services on postpaid as well as prepaid phones were restored in the Kashmir Valley from 18th of that month. However, they could only be used to access 301 websites approved by the J&K administration, an official order had said.

That move had come within a week of the administration ordering restoration of prepaid mobile services in the Valley and resumption of 2G mobile data service on whitelisted websites across the Jammu division. The sites approved included search engines and those associated with banking, education, news, travel, utilities and employment.

The Supreme Court had earlier come down heavily on the UT administration for arbitrarily shutting down the internet, the facility described as a fundamental right by the apex court.

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