NEW DELHI: High-speed 4G internet services were restored on Friday in the whole of Jammu & Kashmir in view of the “overall security situation” in the Union territory.
Internet services across J&K were completely shut down on August 5, 2019 and subsequently restored at 2G speed.
High-speed 4G internet resumed in two districts – Ganderbal in Kashmir region and Udhampur in Jammu region — in August last year on a trial basis, while the other 18 districts continued to work with 2G internet with the now-fortnightly orders extending the 4G ban citing different security concerns.
“Keeping in view the advice of the special committee (constituted on advice of the Supreme Court) and upon careful review of the overall security scenario, I, principal secretary to the government, home department….hereby revoke the restrictions on mobile data services and fixed line internet connectivity placed vide govt order…dated 22.02.2021, except to the extent that the pre-paid SIM card holders shall be provided access to the internet connectivity only after verification as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections,” said an order issued by the J&K home department.
The order was issued after the special committee took note of the inputs and apprehensions of the security agencies and police forces as also the assessment of opening of high speed mobile internet connectivity in Ganderbal and Udhampur.
A senior official of the security establishment told TOI that the lifting of 4G ban across the entire Union territory has completed the restoration of normalcy post-abrogation of Article 370.
“The situation has been peaceful for some time with no popular protests or shutdowns, all political detainees have been released, terrorism levels are down and J&K economy is on its way to revival. The last remnant of curbs imposed since August 5, 2019 was the 4G ban. With the lifting of this too, the journey of J&K to full normalcy shall be complete,” said the officer.
As per data cited by the home ministry in Parliament, terrorist attacks in J&K fell 59% from 594 in 2019 to 244 in 2020, while the number of terrorists killed rose from 157 to 221 in the same period.
Officials said the return of 4G internet in the Union territory will bring cheer to the people of J&K who had been complaining of 2G speeds adversely impacting their access to online education necessitated by the pandemic.