The Union Home Ministry’s decision to ban the 3.8 million pre-paid connections in Jammu and Kashmir has drawn criticism from telecom sector employees, business executives and politicians.
“It is not justified. Because of a few disturbing elements, the government should not make all 38 lakh pre-paid mobile subscribers suffer,” Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee President Saiffuddin Soz said on Saturday.
“If somebody is becoming a security threat, identify him and put him behind bars,” Soz said, “We’ll take up the matter with the home ministry.”
The move could render close to 1.5 lakh telecom sector employees in the state jobless.
“On the one hand the Prime Minister proposes to dilute the presence of armed forces in the state. On the other, the government is scrapping pre-paid telephony. This will hurt Kashmir’s already depleted employment opportunities,” said an affected Vodafone employee on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
A group of people on Saturday assembled at Jammu city’s Bahu Plaza and raised slogans protesting the move.
“Banning pre-paid service cannot be a solution to security problems. The government is snatching livelihoods,” said Meghna Sharma, 24, an MNC employee.
The Jammu Cellular Association has threatened to launch protests in the state if the ban wasn’t lifted.
“During his visit, Chidambaram said the situation in J&K had improved, then what is the logic behind the ban?” asked Munish Gupta, president of the association.