Kashmir logs into social media after 7 months

Govt allows Facebook, Twitter, Youtube first time after Aug 5, 2019; 3G-4G internet ban to continue
Pic: Habib Naqash/GK
Pic: Habib Naqash/GK

The J&K administration on Wednesday revoked ban on social media after seven months, however restrictions on high-speed 3G-4G internet would continue.

A fresh order issued by Principal Secretary Home Department,ShaleenKabra, said that 2G internet services on post-paid sim cards wouldcontinue till March 17. It said the order has been issued after reviewingsecurity scenario in Jammu and Kashmir.

On August 5, 2019, the Central Government abrogated thespecial Constitutional position of Jammu and Kashmir. Apprehending protests, itenforced a total clampdown on the state, arrested political, religious, bar,trade leaders and activists, and snapped all telephone and internet connectionsacross the region.

The Department has not issued any list of "white-listed"sites today, indicating that the government has revoked restrictions on thesocial media.

Similarly, there is no reference in the order to the use ormisuse of VPN applications in Kashmir though it was described in earlierorders. "Yes, the restrictions on social media have been lifted," a senioprpolice officer told Greater Kashmir.

With the revoking of social media ban, the people can nowaccess Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks on 2Ginternet across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

In the last order of February 24, the Home Department hadissued a list of 1674 "white-listed" sites which could be accessed internet.

In today's order, Principal Secretary Home has expressedsatisfaction on the security situation.

"The 2G internet speed will be restricted across Jammu andKashmir Union Territory, the postpaid sim-card holders will continue to beprovided access to the internet, and these services will not be made availableon pre-paid sim cards unless verified as per norms applicable for postpaidconnection," reads the Home Department order.

The internet connectivity will continue to be made availablewith mac-binding, the order said.

"The access or communication facilities provided by thegovernment like e-terminals, internet kiosks, apart from special arrangementsfor tourism, students, traders etc. will also continue.

"The Inspector Generals of Police in Kashmir and Jammu willensure communication of these directions to the service providers and also ensureimplementation of the directions with immediate effect," says the order.

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