J&K: Ban on 4G From Aug 2019 Extended till 26 Nov Citing Elections

The J&K government believes that the ban is in the “interest of India’s sovereignty and integrity.”

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Image for representative purposes.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Thursday, 12 November, extended its ban on 3G and 4G mobile internet services till 26 November 2020, The Indian Express reported.

The districts of Ganderbal and Udhampur have been exempted from the ban imposed on the Union Territory. In all other districts, only 2G data services will be available.

The order issued by Principal Secretary Home Shaleen Kabra states that the ban aims to “create an environment of safety and security” during the elections for District Development Council Constituencies, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).

The government has anticipated that “terrorists and separatist elements” will 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 design of the terrorists to dissuade general public from participating in the election process. Such unlawful acts heavily rely upon high-speed mobile internet internet connectivity...”
Excerpt from the order issued by government of Jammu and Kashmir.

The order notes that security agencies had reported infiltration attempts made by militants along the Line of Control, and therefore, the ban is imperative in the “interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State and for maintaining public order.”

The order also mentions that while postpaid SIM cardholders will continue to have access to internet, these services will be disrupted for pre-paid SIM cards, unless verified as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections.

Internet Ban Continues

The Internet was first cut off in the region on 5 August,2019, hours before the Centre’s abrogation of Article 370. Low-speed 2G Internet was restored in the Valley in January 2020.

On 15 August 2020, the J&K administration had restarted 4G Internet in Udhampur and Ganderbal after the 5 August 2019 ban.

Later, on 21 October 2020, the ban in the Union Territory was extended till Thursday, 12 November.

(With inputs from The Indian Express and Bar and Bench)

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