Srinagar: The J&K government yet again extended the suspension of high-speed internet in Kashmir till April 27 stating the same “did not hinder” COVID-19 control measures.
In an extension order passed late Wednesday, Principal Secretary to the government Shaleen Kabra said “taking note of misuse of social media applications in terror activities as also in adversely impacting public order, it is apparent that there is need for continuation of the speed restrictions on mobile internet services.”
The order said people were “misusing” social media applications for “circulation of photographs” of militants “and for mobilizing crowds.”
“…one such incident being when more than 500 villagers gathered to attend funeral of a terrorist, defying the lockdown and throwing social-distancing norms to the wind,” it said referring to a recent gathering of people during a militant’s funeral in Sopore on April 8.
Apparently referring to the recent encounter in Keran sector, the order also claimed that Pakistan based militant organisations were “leaving no stone unturned to exploit the present situation as seen by recent infiltration attempts which also caused security forces’ casualties.”
The government, in the order, claimed that the restrictions on internet speed “have not posed any hindrance to COVID-19 control measures.”
“They (restrictions) have reduced incidents of misuse of social media by way of uploading and circulation of provocative audio/video content, fake news, rumour mongering, coordination of terror activities and any other such acts that rely upon high speed mobile internet connectivity,” it reads.
Extending the ban, it adds, was “absolutely necessary to do so in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India.”
The latest extension is yet another blow to public expectations of 4G restoration in the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.
Several noted persons in academia and medical sectors have called for restoration of the services so that doctors, students and the general public do not face the hassles in accessing information.
To mention, internet services along with mobile and fixed land line telephony, were suspended in Kashmir on August 4 last year, a day before government of India abrogated Article 370 and divided and downgraded the state into two union territories.