After seven months, people of Kashmir heaved a sigh of relief as a ban on social media was lifted by the Jammu and Kashmir authorities on Wednesday, 4 March.
“Finally, we can connect with the rest of the world without using virtual private networks (VPNs),” Sajad Ahmad, a Srinagar resident, told PTI.
Removing the ban on social media platforms, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday allowed access to all websites on 2G mobile data services and fixed line internet in the Union Territory till 17 March.
There was disbelief among some netizens about the sudden restoration of access to social media applications and sites. “I do not know what has changed in the past few months that the government has lifted the ban. The ban in the first place was misplaced and unnecessary,” Naveed Anjum, a software programmer, said.
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A lot of Kashmiris tweeted on Wednesday stating how exciting yet unnerving it feels to use social media after more than 200 days.
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Meanwhile, Iltija Mufti, daughter of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, also commented on the development stating that the Jammu and Kashmir administration “finally realised the futility of the ban on social media since Kashmiris ccircumvented it through VPNs.”
The Home Department of the Jammu and Kashmir government issued an order for the temporary suspension of telecom services on 4 March 2020, following its periodic review of the situation in the region (as mandated by the Supreme Court of India).
Unlike previous orders, the new order does not specify if internet access (whether via mobile data or broadband) will be restricted to ‘whitelisted’ sites, meaning full access to the internet has finally been restored, including social media sites.
(With inputs from PTI)