After ages, WhatsApp, facebook back in Kashmir
Govt lifts ban on social media; but access to internet services remains restricted to 2G speed; fresh ‘breather’ valid till Mar 17
Jammu, Mar 04: Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday removed the ban on social media platforms, and allowed access to all sites on 2G mobile data services and fixed line Internet in the Union Territory till March 17.
Earlier, only access to white-listed sites was allowed after the services were restored for a week on January 25 and subsequently extended from time to time.
The Internet facility was snapped across Jammu and Kashmir on August 05 last year, the day when Centre abrogated the special status to the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two union territories.
The fresh order was issued by Principal Secretary, Home, Shaleen Kabra after assessment of the impact of telecom services regulation on the overall security situation and maintenance of public order and reports of law enforcement agencies.
The order said the Internet speed on mobile data service will be restricted to 2G only and the post paid SIM card holders would continue to be provided access to the Internet.
However, Kabra said the services would not be made available on pre-paid SIM cards unless verified as per the norms applicable for postpaid connections.
As the period of extension of services was set to expire on Wednesday, the Home department ordered that 2G mobile data service and fixed line Internet connectivity with certain restrictions will now continue till March 17, unless modified earlier.
About fixed line Internet connectivity, the Principal Secretary said the Internet connectivity would continue to be made available with Mac Binding.
Mac Binding essentially means to enforce a client machine to work from a particular Internet Protocol address.
“It is further directed that the access/communication facilities provided by the government viz e-terminals/Internet kiosks apart from special arrangements for tourists, students, traders etc shall continue,” Kabra said in the order.
He asked the Inspector General of Police, Kashmir and Jammu divisions, to ensure communication of these directions to service providers forthwith and also ensure implementation of the directions with immediate effect.
While continuing the ban on social media, authorities had last month said that anti-national elements and people across the border continue to “misuse” these networking sites allowing peer-to-peer communication and virtual private networks (VPNs).
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were asked to ensure access to 1,674 white-listed sites only and not to any social media applications.
The restrictions on mobile and Internet services were partially eased after the Supreme Court said in January that access to the Internet is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution and asked the government to review the curbs. (With PTI inputs)