The Jammu and Kashmir administration has decided to continue the curb on Internet speed across the Union Territory in an order released on Wednesday that says that internet speed shall be restricted to 2G only and available on post-paid sim cards.
The development comes a day after the Central government told the Supreme Court that it will verify media reports that claimed Jammu & Kashmir’s lieutenant governor, G C Murmu, is in favour of restoration of high-speed 4G internet services in the Union Territory.
Internet access across the Union Territory of J&K shall be made available; however, internet speed shall be restricted to 2G only and post-paid sim card holders shall be provided with access to internet: Jammu & Kashmir Government pic.twitter.com/5Oy55DeF4s
— ANI (@ANI) July 29, 2020
The internet restrictions are in place in the union territory since last year in August, when the erstwhile state’s special status was revoked through abrogation of Article 370 and its bifurcation into two union territories. Since then, centre has allowed some relaxations but has refused to restore 4G services saying the situation was not conducive. Orders were passed by the J&K authorities on March 4, 17 and 26 restricting internet speed for mobile data services to 2G.
Earlier this month, the union government had told Supreme Court that a special committee constituted as per the Court’s order to review internet restrictions in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) has decided against any further relaxation for the time being.
Centre had filed an affidavit referring to the committee considering all aspects of the matter, including terrorist related incidents in J&K, in its meeting held on June 10 before deciding to continue with the restrictions on 4G mobile internet.
“Ultimately, based on wide-ranging assessment of the prevailing situation in this sensitive region, the committee arrived at a decision that no further relaxation on restrictions on internet services, including 4G services, could be carried out at present. It was also decided that the next review of the committee would be carried out in two months”, the affidavit had said.
The top court has been petitioned by NGOs and media professionals, who have alleged that the Centre is not following the apex court’s directions to periodically review restrictions on internet in the union territory.
The petitioners have claimed that patients, doctors, and general public of J&K were unable to access latest information, guidelines, advisories and restrictions about Covid- 19 because of the restrictions on mobile internet speed. They also argue that slow internet speed makes accessing of telemedicine (diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunication) or online video consultation impossible.
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