Six months after shutdown, broadband, 2G Internet partially restored in J&K

The Jammu and Kashmir administration allowed mobile Internet in parts of Jammu region and broadband in hotels, travel establishments and hospitals but only on white-listed websites, official said.

In a three-page order, the home department said additional 400 internet kiosks will be established in Kashmir division.

Internet service providers will offer broadband facility (with Mac binding) to all institutions dealing with essential services, hospitals, banks as also government offices.

Mac Binding means to enforce a client machine to work from a particular Internet Protocol address.

In order to facilitate tourism, broadband internet would be provided to hotels and tour and travel establishments.

The order also said that the 2G mobile connectivity on post-paid mobiles for accessing white-listed websites including e-banking will be allowed in districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi — all in the Jammu region.

The decision to restore internet services in the valley comes after Supreme Court instructions on 10 January, Anuradha Bhasin vs. government of India said that shutdown orders must adhere to the principle of proportionality and must be temporary in nature.

The Supreme Court has also recognised that the right to freedom of Speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a), and the right to carry on any trade or business under 19(1)(g) using the medium of internet is constitutionally protected.

Soon after coming back to power with a seat share bigger than before, the Modi government had stripped the autonomy of erstwhile state of Jammu &Kashmir. The government had sent troops to Kashmir, imposed a curfew and cut cell phone services. Post paid cell phone services were restored two months later, however, the internet remained suspended.

Indian government has maintained that shut down was necessary to check infiltration to check terror activities in the valley sponsored by Pakistan and its proxies.

According to Delhi based Software Freedom Law Centre, India shuts off internet more than any other country in the world. In 2019, the Internet was blocked 106 times across the country – and 55 times in Jammu and Kashmir alone