Updated: November 12, 2020 10:01:44 pm
The Jammu and Kashmir Government Thursday extended the ban on high-speed internet data across the UT, except in Ganderbal and Udhampur districts.
The ban will remain in force till November 26, said an order issued by Principal Secretary Home Shaleen Kabra, adding that while post-paid SIM card holders will continue to get internet access, these services will not be available on pre-paid cards unless verified as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections.
Stating that the recently announced elections to 280 District Development Councils and bye-elections to more than 13,400 posts in panchayati raj institutions/urban local bodies across J&K are witnessing “high level of interest” among people, the order read: “It is apprehended that the terrorists and separatist elements shall make every possible attempt to disrupt the democratic process.”
“During the last fortnight, there have also been targeted killing of the civilians, political activists, that manifest the nefarious designs of the (militants) to dissuade general public from participating in the election process,” it added.
The order said such activities depend upon high-speed internet connectivity.
“Such unlawful acts heavily rely upon high speed mobile internet connectivity and are required to be thwarted by taking appropriate pre-emptive measures to create an environment of safety and security for the contesting candidates and the general public,” the order added.
As such, “In the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State and for maintaining public order’’, the “high speed mobile data services in the districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur shall continue to be made available, while in rest of the districts the internet speed be restricted to 2G only,” the order said.
It also claimed that the decision will not impede Covid control measures and education facilities.
“Taking note of the observations regarding regulation of internet services made in the report or the Special Committee constituted by the Supreme Court and the reports of the law enforcement agencies regarding the prevailing security environment, directions for allowing access to the high speed internet services were issued while ensuring that the same do not impede the efforts of the Government towards COVID control measures, enabling access to educational programmes and ensuring conduct of business activities in an effective manner,” it said.
“These directions have had a salutary effect on misuse of data services for rumor mongering, circulation of fake news, inducement of local youth to join the terrorist ranks and coordination of terror activities and the situation requires continued close monitoring considering the attempts of infiltration from across the border, presence of foreign terrorists affiliated to Pak based terror outfits and a number of terror acts in recent past necessitating even complete suspension of the internet/telecom services, albeit for a limited period of time,” it added.
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