(Image source from: telegraphindia.com)
Jammu and Kashmir has been shut off from the internet for six months now as the services were snapped on 4th of August last year, hours before the Article 370 has been abrogated.
The administration of Jammu and Kashmir has ordered the restoration of broadband and data services on Friday mentioning that the services of broadband and the the mobile internet services at 2G speeds will be restored from Saturday for the Union Territory. However, the restrictions on the social media is said to be continued at least until 31st of January.
Although the broadband connectivity to essential services has been restored on January 15, and the restricted data access has been restored in the North Kashmir districts of Kupwara and Baramulla, the data connectivity services were still snapped in the other places of the union territory until the administration of Jammu and Kashmir has announced the restoration of the services on Friday.
The Supreme Court has directed the administration of Jammu and Kashmir in reviewing all the orders that has been suspended regarding the internet services while it ruled that the freedom of speech and expression and the freedom of practicing any profession or in carrying any trade, business or occupation over internet being the medium enjoys Constitutional protection under the Article 19 (1) (a) and Article 19 (1) (g).
The notification from the home department says that the limitation of the internet access will be made where in the internet access shall be limited to only the whitelisted sites. The whitelisted sites has been expanded from the earlier being 153 that included the websites under the categories of mail, services, education, banking, travel, employment being few among the others, to 300 where in 53 new portals has been added and the restriction on the social media websites which allow peer to peer communication and Virtual Private Network Application will still persist.
The prior 153 whitelisted websites included emailinmg sites such as gmail and outlook and 15 banking websites like reserve Bank of India, J&K Bank, PayPal and Western Union, three websites that are based on employment, 38 educational websites that includes indiaresults, IGNOU and websites for the five J&K based universities, three schools and Wikipedia.
The mobile internet data services shall be made available on pre- paid as well as post- paid sim cards. It has also been mentioned that the restoration of the 2G internet facility will be made available and would be continued till 31st of January after which it would be further reviewed.
The internet and mobile connectivity has been snapped on August 5 last year after the center has announced the abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution that has been made applicable to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir and has also bifurcated the state into two union territories with Jammu and Kashmir as one union territory and Ladakh being the other union territory.
By Shrithika Kushangi