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Ban on Social Media Lifted in J-K, Access to Internet on 2G to Continue till March 17

Even after partial restoration, the government had allowed limited access with ‘whitelisted’ URLs only in the region—excluding social media websites.
Ban on Social Media Lifted in J-K, Access

File Photo.

Removing a ban on social media platforms, Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday allowed access to all sites on 2G mobile data services and fixed line internet in the union territory till March 17.

Earlier, only access to white-listed sites was allowed after the services were restored for a week on January 25 and subsequently extended from time to time.

The internet facility was snapped across Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year, the day when Centre abrogated the special status to the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two union territories.

The fresh order was issued by Principal Secretary, Home, Shaleen Kabra after assessment of the impact of telecom services regulation on the overall security situation and maintenance of public order and reports of law enforcement agencies.

Earlier, on January 14, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had declared restoration of mobile internet services in parts of Jammu region as well as broadband facilities at institutions that provide essential services. The erstwhile state had been deprived of internet services since August 5 last year—when the BJP-led government had abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision had come days after Supreme Court had ordered a review of the prohibitions imposed in the newly formed union territory. The apex court had also termed the indefinite shutdown as “unwarranted”.

However, even after partial restoration, the government had allowed limited access with ‘whitelisted’ URLs only in the region. “There are some sites which are likely to remain banned for a longer period including social media sites like instant messaging services or Facebook and Twitter,” the official had said.

In February, the J&K Police had said their cyber branch had registered a case FIR under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against “various social media users” for defying the government orders and using social media platforms via VPNs.

“The FIR has been registered while taking cognizance of social media posts by miscreants by use of different VPNs. This is the first FIR registered in the cyber police station since its notification by the government,” the police spokesperson had said.

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