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Finally, the 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 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. From day one people here had been pressing for restoration of internet services. All sections of the society suffered huge losses due to internet blockade. It impacted the academics of students, businesses, media and every sphere of life. Though following the restoration of 2G services has eased the situation to some extent but still people here are not yet able to use the facility the way their other countrymen do elsewhere in India.

Now that the government has taken a big decision to allow access to social media networking sites, people from all sections of the society have hailed the decision. It goes without saying that in today’s world almost everyone is completely dependent on internet. Be it a business person, a technocrat, a student, a medical practitioner, someone in dire need of medical consultation, everyone needs the facility for a hassle free life. In this backdrop, while one has to really appreciate the UT administration for restoration of social networking sites, one would expect the administration to move one step further and restore the 4G services today. In today’s world people are talking of 5G and 6G and therefore a population of 12 million people can’t be kept confined to just 2G services. It is therefore hoped that during the coming review meeting, the administration signals green to restoration of 4G services.

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