J&K gov: No plan yet to restore Net, pre-paid mobiles

The Asian Age.

India, All India

Post-paid mobile phone service was made operational also in the Kashmir Valley from October 14 noon.

J&K governor Satya Pal Malik (Photo: PTI)

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday ruled out possibility of restoration of pre-paid mobile or internet services in Kashmir Valley in the near future.

Governor Satya Pal Malik was quoted as saying: “There is no plan to resume pre-paid mobile service since Pakistani nationals would misuse it. We will start internet services only when situation improves.”

Both pre-paid and post-paid mobile, landline phone and internet services were snapped in Jammu and Kashmir on the night of August 4 as part of a complete communication blackout ordered ahead of the Centre’s stripping the state of its special status and splitting it into two Union Territories.

However, landline phone services were restored, first in Jammu and then in the Valley, last month. Earlier, voice calls on mobile phones had started working in a few areas of the Valley’s frontier district of Kupwara from August 17.

Mobile internet service was also made available to subscribers in Jammu on August 18 but these were withdrawn again the next day allegedly after the facility was “misused” by some people, mainly through social media. However, broadband services on fixed landline phones began working in Jammu region again some time ago.

Post-paid mobile phone service was made operational also in the Valley from October 14 noon. However, the government ordered withdrawal of short messaging service (SMS) facility within three hours without assigning any reason for it. The internet services have remained suspended across all platforms in the Valley.

The authorities have repeatedly sought to justify the denial of access to internet and mobile phone services in the Valley by asserting that such steps were necessary to maintain law and order and prevent violence and pointed to the relatively limited number of incidents of violence compared with previous bouts of unrest. The governor said on Monday: “For us, the life of a Kashmiri was important and not telephone. People were living without telephones earlier also.”

The governor on Friday also said that the killings of an apple-buyer from Punjab, truck-driver from Rajasthan and brick-kiln worker from Chhattisgarh by suspected militants in southern Shopian and Pulwama districts over past few days were matter of grave concern. Claiming Pakistan’s hand in these killings, he said: “This is a matter of grave concern. Poor people who are migrating to the state to earn a living are being killed like this...This is happening on Pakistan’s directions to create disturbance in the state. We will not allow this to happen. We will not spare such people.”