NEW DELHI: The Centre is likely to permit restoration of high-speed internet services in more districts of Jammu and Kashmir after October 15 but may leave the decision on the names of districts with the state administration and police, said people aware of the matter. 4G services were restored in two districts –Ganderbal and Udhampur, on trial basis by the State administration, in August this year, more than a year after they were suspended.
Officials said restoration of high speed internet services will be done in a calibrated manner with strict monitoring and periodical review by security agencies. “Districts reporting low violence and not close to the Line of Control (LOC) will be considered, on priority,” they added. In August last year, the Union government abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the State into two UTs — Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. To curb incidents of violence, 4G services were suspended as well.
The Centre in January this year restored 2G services and later announced the setting up of a special committee on the directions of the Supreme Court to examine the resumption of 4G internet. After several rounds of hearing before the SC, the centre in August 2020 informed the apex court that the panel has decided to allow internet on trial basis in limited areas of the UT after August 15. The high powered committee headed by union home secretary Ajay Bhalla is likely to hold another detailed review of the situation before October 15.
While many agencies have backed the decision for full restoration of 4G services across J&K, MHA officials are opposed for a complete resumption of the internet due to fears of “misuse”, explained a senior government official. Newly appointed LG Manoj Sinha, however, has assured that the matter (on 4G) is being examined very seriously.
J&K consists of 10 districts each where Rajouri, Poonch and Sambha in Jammu and Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla in Kashmir, share border with Pakistan.
Districts such as Srinagar, Anantnag, Shopian reported the most number of violence in wake of the abrogation of Article 370.