Temporary suspension of telecom, internet services in Kashmir| Principal Secy Home confirms IGP’s directions as ‘absolute necessity’

Temporary suspension of telecom, internet services in Kashmir| Principal Secy Home confirms IGP’s directions as ‘absolute necessity’
Representational Photo File/ GK

Jammu: Principal Secretary Home Shaleen Kabra on Friday retrospectively confirmed the directions of IGP Kashmir zone vis-a-vis temporary suspension of telecom and internet services across the Kashmir valley “without obtaining approval of the competent authority in the interest of maintaining public order” since September 1.

Kabra, in an order, maintained that there was an absolute necessity of issuance of these directions” by the IGP.

Justifying the “necessity” of directions, Kabra also quoted the reports of the law enforcement agencies mentioning that “if the internet/mobile data/cellular services are not regulated, its unhindered use has huge potential of disturbing the law and order situation.”

Restrictions were imposed and telecom and internet services were suspended following the demise of senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani late Wednesday evening.

“Whereas, the IGP, Kashmir Zone, being the Authorized Officer under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017, has issued directions to the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs)/Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for various services across the Kashmir valley,” Kabra stated in an order this evening, while mentioning details of three orders of IGP since 2235 hours on September 1, 2021.

As per details mentioned in Home department order, IGP Kashmir issued Order No. 3911 (TSTS) of 2021 dated September 1, 2021 directing suspension of mobile data services from 2235 hours on September 1,2021. This was followed by order No 3921(TSTS) of 2021 dated September 2,2021 directing suspension of internet services from 0037 hours on September 2, 2021 and order number 3923(TSTS) of 2021 dated September 2, 2021 directing suspension of mobile cell services (Voice calls/SMS) from 0135 hours on September 2, 2021.

“Whereas, these orders inter-alia mention about the provocative material on social media by the Pakistan supported handlers-from across the border as well as within, inimical to the peace and tranquility, exhorting for street protests, gathering/participating in large numbers, rushing to burial site for attending last rites, etc., attempting to create misgivings against the administration, misguiding the general public, and with the objective of mobilizing people to disturb Law & Order, warranting issuance of the aforesaid directions, without obtaining approval of the competent authority,” Kabra noted in his order, referring to IGP Kashmir’s letter.

“The reports of the law enforcement agencies further mention that if the internet/mobile data/cellular services are not regulated, its unhindered use has huge potential of disturbing the law and order situation,” he added.

“Now, therefore, upon consideration of the various aspects, as brought out in the material provided by the Authorized Officer, I, Principal Secretary to the Government, Home department, being satisfied that there was an absolute necessity of issuance of the aforesaid direction’s by the Authorized Officer, without obtaining prior approval of the Competent Authority, in the interest of maintaining public order, hereby confirm the directions, issued by the Authorized Officer, in exercise of the powers conferred under sub-rule (1) of Rule 2 of the Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017,” Kabra stated.

“The restrictions shall be operative up to 4th September, 2021, 1700 Hrs, unless modified earlier,” he had further directed. However, late this evening, IGP Kashmir ordered the resumption of mobile service (voice call) and broadband of all TSPs from 10 pm.

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