Srinagar, Apr 3: Most of Kashmir is again pinning hopes on restoration of high-speed mobile internet as yet another extension of government’s existing order on 2G ends today.
On March 26, the government had extended the ban on high-speed 4G internet claiming it was “absolutely necessary to do so in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India.”
“The directions shall be effective immediately and remain in force upto 3rd April, 2020, unless modified earlier,” read the order then signed by Principal Secretary to Government, Shaleen Kabra.
The service has been blocked since August last year when the government of India abrogated Article 370 and divided J&K into two union territories.
Several noted persons in academia and medical sectors in Kashmir have called for restoration of 4G services so that doctors, students and the general public do not face the hassles in accessing information during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Medics have clearly expressed their inability to download and access journals and other important information that can prove cardinal in their effort to treat and contain this virus.
Similarly, students too have lost the opportunity to go for online classes amid the current lockdown.
In this regard, a PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to restore 4G internet speed in the Union Territory.
The plea, filed through ‘Foundation for Media Professionals’ on Thursday, has sought restoration of 4G internet services, alleging that the action of the government was violative of Articles 14 (right to equality), 19 (freedom of speech) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.
Terming 2G internet services as “outdated”, the plea said 4G speed would be useful in ensuring information flow to the citizens in view of the COVID19.
“The advent of the COVID19 global pandemic has fundamentally altered the existing situation. At present, the following facts exist: first, COVID19 exists in India, and is a highly infectious and communicable disease. Research into its origins and the best ways of tackling this disease is ongoing, and there is a continuing flow of new information about how best to contain the fall out of the virus, and limit its spread and impact,” the plea said.
It said the plea has been filed to ensure flow of information to citizens during these “extraordinary times when the number of cases of Coronavirus Disease (“COVID19”) in Jammu and Kashmir has already reached 33, with 2 reported deaths”.