Jameela Khan and Aijaz Ahmad’s (names changed) romance has hit a rough patch. No, they’re not fighting. It’s the Centre’s move to ban pre-paid mobile phone connections in Jammu & Kashmir from November 1 that’s worrying them.
Ahmad’s family doesn’t approve of the relationship. A pre-paid connection — easy to get and recharge, and with no bills — gave him the freedom to talk to Khan without his folks knowing. And it was easy on the pocket.
“Plus, there were jodi offers where we had to mention only one address and I just accompanied the company executive to the address to verify it,” said Ahmad.
These very reasons made the Union Home Ministry think pre-paid connections were a security hazard. Its decision to do away with them will affect 38 lakh (3.8 million) subscribers — including many young lovers like Khan and Ahmad.
Of late, gifting a pre-paid connection to a girl/boyfriend had become a fad in Kashmir. “On Valentine’s Day, I gave my girlfriend one,” said Muzaffar (name changed), a corporate worker. “It came almost for free and was easy to get... I can’t buy two post-paid connections,” he said.
Apart from lovers, the ban has outraged people across the political spectrum in both Jammu and Kashmir. “It is not justifiable that due to a few disturbing elements, the Home Ministry will make 38 lakh subscribers suffer,” said state Congress chief Saiffuddin Soz, whose party rules at the Centre.
In Jammu, the local Cellular Association has threatened massive protests if the ban is not lifted.