More than two months after the government imposed a severe communication blockade in Jammu and Kashmir, the post-paid mobile services will be restored in Kashmir valley on Monday, the government said on Saturday, October 12.
According to Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal, the mobile services will be resumed at 12 noon on Monday after the government shut mobile and internet services on August 5 in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 and 35A and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories.
The decision, Kansal added, will cover all the 10 districts in the Kashmir valley.
More than 80 lakh mobile phones remain affected due to the clampdown and the decision will restore as many as 40 lakh postpaid phones from the state-operated BSNL and all privately owned networks in the region.
The mobile networks in Jammu division were already functional from past weeks, however, mobile internet services remained shut across Jammu and Kashmir. The government earlier restored nearly 45,000 landline phones in the valley after 45 days of clampdown.
The mobile internet and broadband services will continue to remain shut.
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Apart from the communication blockade, a massive clampdown was also imposed in the region since August 5 following which civilian movement was completely curbed. Thousands were arrested by the government including top activists, politicians and businessmen in what the government called “preventive detentions” to thwart any opposition to the decision of revoking Article 370.
More than 250 people including top businessmen and lawyers, detained under PSA, have been shifted to jails outside J&K. The government has been maintaining that the situation in Kashmir is improving since the initial days of clampdown and that the decision to restore mobile phones is a part of the easing out restrictions in the valley.
Earlier, the government officials had informed that only BSNL postpaid services will be restored in the region but, according to Kansal, it was reconsidered and decided that connections from all the networks will be restored.
The decision comes days after the government lifted travel advisory against the tourists from visiting Kashmir. The advisory urged non-locals to visit Kashmir two months after the government banned tourists from travelling to the tourist destination and also evacuated those present in the valley when the decision to revoke Article 370 was taken.
The government’s decision to impose a clampdown had received massive backlash from across the country and the world, with international rights bodies including the UN urging the Indian government to end the communication blackout immediately.