Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Government on Tuesday extended ban on high-speed internet till May 27 even as 2G service shall remain suspended in Pulwama and Shopian district for now.
Among others, the government has cited use of high speed mobile internet for coordinating acts of militancy, both within and from across the border.
“Over the past two weeks, there has been a sharp increase in (militancy) related incidents, ranging from isolated attacks on civilians, hurling of grenades in public places, indiscriminate firing and attacks on the security forces’ personnel deployed on Naka duties to enforce restrictions to contain COVID-19,” it said, adding, “(There has been) Increased presence of (militants) in the thickly populated areas and engagements with Security Forces leading to killing of (militants and recovery of arms and ammunition,” reads an order issued by the Home department.
The government said it has been reported that there have been concerted efforts by the “Pak handlers to cause incitement among the general public, particularly youth, through circulation of varied nature of “propaganda audios, videos and photographs, while continuing with attempts to spread misinformation and fake news. Despite serious concerns related to spread of COVID-19, there have even been instances of stone pelting at militant encounter sites.”
The government said that there are reports, indicating that high speed mobile internet is likely to be used for coordinating acts of militantcy- both within and from across the border; and in view of killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Riyaz Naikoo and other militants in Pulwama district on May 6, the authorities said that they were “compelled to snap down mobile cellular services i.e. voice/sms as well as internet services, across the Kashmir valley to ensure maintenance of public order.” “There are credible inputs from intelligence agencies that (militants) may make desperate attempts to avenge the reverses in the recent past,” the order issued by Principal Secretary Home said.
On examining the reports of the field agencies and the prevailing security situation, the government said that there was apparent necessity to take suitable steps to prevent misuse of internet for incitement and propagation of militant activities. “Given the availability of fixed line internet connectivity without any speed related restrictions and taking cognizance of the fact that mobile internet connectivity at 2G speed does not cause any impediment in taking measures concerning control of COVID -19, it is considered appropriate that while the mobile internet is restored in the Kashmir Valley excluding Pulwama and the adjoining district of Shopian, it is restricted to 2G speed,” it said.
The government said that the internet speed shall remain restricted to 2G only across the J-K excluding Pulwama and Shopian. The IsGP, Kashmir and Jammu have been asked to ensure communication of these directions to the service providers with immediate effect and ensure their implementation in letter and spirit.
“(These) directions shall be effective from 12.05.2020 and remain in force till 27.05.2020, unless modified earlier,” the order added. (GNS)