Ban on 3G, 4G Internet services in J&K extended till Feb 24

JAMMU, Feb 16 (Agencies): The Jammu and Kashmir added more than 1,000 websites to its internet whitelist, taking the total number from 481 to 1,485. However, the social media ban will continue as the administration allowed the continuation of only the voice calls, SMS and 2G internet connectivity to white-listed sites on post-paid and pre-paid mobile phones across the Union Territory till February 24. According to a notification released by the home department, the government of Jammu and Kashmir, reports received from the intelligence and the law enforcement agencies have revealed that social media sites were being accessed through Virtual Private Network (VPN) applications to execute “terror activities”.
There have also been attempts to disturb “public peace” by spreading rumours which “necessitated temporary suspension of mobile data services for limited periods” last week, the release said. Keeping in view the above concerns, the UT administration has decided to grant access to only the whitelisted websites. It also stated that the data services will be available on postpaid mobile phones and the pre-paid sim cards of the holders whose credentials have been verified according to the norms applicable for post-paid connections.
On February 7, the government had increased the number of white-listed sites to 481 from 329 listed on January 31. The government had on January 18 restored pre-paid cellphone service (voice and SMS) across the UT, besides 2G mobile internet connectivity to 153 white-listed sites on post-paid cellphones in all the 10 districts of Jammu and two revenue districts of Kashmir – Kupwara, and Bandipora. The Supreme Court, on January 10, asked the J&K administration to “review all orders suspending internet services forthwith”. Ruling that “freedom of speech and expression and the freedom to practice any profession or carry on any trade, business or occupation over the medium of Internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19 (1) (a) and Article 19 (1) (g)”, the Supreme Court had said that “an order suspending internet services indefinitely is impermissible”.

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