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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Post paid mobile phone services in Jammu and Kashmir to be restored from Monday: Government

Post paid mobile phone services in Jammu and Kashmir will be restored from Monday, the government said on Saturday.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2019 15:32 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
In the second week of September, mobile connectivity was restored in Jammu but was subsequently withdrawn because of alleged rumour-mongering.
In the second week of September, mobile connectivity was restored in Jammu but was subsequently withdrawn because of alleged rumour-mongering. (PTI Photo/Representative Image )

All post-paid mobile phone services will be restored in the remaining areas of Jammu and Kashmir from Monday, the government announced on Saturday, more than two months after several clampdowns were enforced as the Centre revoked the region’s special status.

Restrictions were placed on the movement of people, phone and internet services suspended and hundreds of state leaders placed under house arrest on August 5 disabled over fears of violence.

The government had revoked Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories- Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The government had said the abolition of Kashmir’s special status was meant to help to combat terrorism and to boost the region’s economic development

“Having reviewed the situation, a decision has now been taken to restore mobile phone services in the remaining areas of Jammu and Kashmir,” the state’s principal secretary Rohit Kansal said during a press conference.

“All postpaid mobile services, irrespective of the telecom operator, will stand restored and be functional from 12 noon on Monday. This will cover all the 10 districts of Kashmir province,” Kansal said.

The senior bureaucrat also said that telephone landlines have been fully restored and are functioning for more than six weeks.

The step was taken after security agencies conveyed that the restoration of mobile phones in a phased manner will not affect the law-and-order situation.

Mobile connectivity was restored in Jammu in the second week of September but was subsequently withdrawn because of alleged rumour-mongering. Jammu and Kashmir has about 600,000 mobile phones connections.

Kansal had said on September 12 that a considerable number of mobiles were functional in Kupwara and Handwara.

The official said on Saturday that since August 16 there has been a gradual removal of the restrictions and by the first week of September, most of them were removed.

“Barring 8-10 police stations, movement restrictions have been completely removed. Over 99% of the area of Jammu and Kashmir has no restrictions on movement,” he said from a prepared statement.

The communication restrictions and the detention of hundreds of people including politicians came under severe criticism across the country as well as globally.

“With this step, tourists will be able to visit the state without being handicapped by the lack of phone connectivity, students can be in touch with parents while attending schools, businessmen can be in touch with customers, transporters can contact clients, and contractors can be in touch with staff,” Kansal said.

The removal of the restriction on mobile connections by the government comes after the state administration lifted the travel advisory issued asking tourists to leave the Valley due to “terror threat”.

The Centre had cancelled the Amarnath Yatra on August 2 and advised pilgrims and tourists to cut short their stay in the Valley “immediately” in view of the “intelligence inputs of terror threats”, days before the revocation of Article 370.

The administration has also decided to hold Block Development Council elections on October 24, the first electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5.

The Congress, however, has decided to boycott these elections citing the continued detention of political leaders.

First Published: Oct 12, 2019 12:15 IST

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