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Friday, Nov 15, 2019

‘Youth can now talk to each other, internet services soon’: J&K guv Malik

Mobile phone services were restored in Kashmir valley on Monday after more than two months.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2019 20:53 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik  justified the suspension of mobile phone services in Kashmir valley following the abrogation of Article 370.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik justified the suspension of mobile phone services in Kashmir valley following the abrogation of Article 370.(PTI)

Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday justified suspension of communication network in Kashmir for over two months saying “lives of Kashmiri people were more important than mobile phones.”

“Many people made a hue and cry when telephones were snapped. We imposed restrictions because terrorists use it for mobilization and indoctrination. For us lives of Kashmiri people were more important than phones. People were living without telephones earlier also. And I must say that we successfully saved lives of all,” Malik said at a programme of police personnel and their families in Kathua.

Mobile phone services in Kashmir which has 40 lakh post-paid subscribers, were restored on Monday.

Cell phone services in Kashmir were snapped on August 4, a day before Centre abrogated the state’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, which will come into effect on October 31.

“Now mobile phones are being restored, tourists have also started coming to Valley, trade has also started and our youth can now talk to each other. Earlier, they faced difficulties. Internet services will also be restored soon,” Malik further said.

The governor said that for the time being government has opened internet kiosks in the offices of deputy commissioners to minimize inconvenience to the people in Kashmir.

“Therefore, I can say that there was no problem to anyone,” he claimed.

The Governor said that the situation in Kashmir was normal and there had been no violence in the last more than two months. Despite Malik’s claim that the situation was normal, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had come out with full-page advertisements in local dailies on Friday, urging people not to “succumb to militants” and resume normal activities so that they can “take informed decisions on what is best for us”. The ads came after a spate of intermittent shutdowns in the valley.

“The Prime Minister and the Home Minister mention about peace in Jammu and Kashmir in every meeting of theirs. We held Panchayat elections in the state (2018) electing around 4000 members and not even a single bird was hurt. However, when Dr Farooq Abdullah contested and won last Lok Sabha by-election from Srinagar (March 2017), nine people were killed on that single day,” he said while drawing parallels between the situation then and after he took over the reins on August 21, 2018.

Malik attributed the feat to close synergy between various security forces.

“Prime Minister had congratulated me for this in Rohtak separately. I told him politely that I don’t deserve his praise but the people of Kashmir and police forces, who ensured peace with their responsible behaviour,” he said.

The governor also termed Jammu and Kashmir Police as one of the finest police forces of India and assured them that he would get the compensation hiked to Rs 1 crores for the martyrs.

Land line telephone services were resumed in the Valley on August 17 and by September 4, nearly 50,000 landlines were declared operational.

In Jammu, the communication was restored within days of the blockade and mobile internet was started around mid-August. However, after its misuse, internet facility on cell phones was snapped on August 18.