Nation Politics 26 Jan 2020 On again, off again: ...

On again, off again: Mobile phone services snapped in Kashmir for R Day

DECCAN CHRONICLE WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published Jan 26, 2020, 11:09 am IST
Updated Jan 26, 2020, 11:09 am IST
Mobile internet services were suspended only hours after their restoration on Saturday
Journalists trying to use their mobile phones at Government Media Facilitation Centre in Srinagar. (PTI)
 Journalists trying to use their mobile phones at Government Media Facilitation Centre in Srinagar. (PTI)

SRINAGAR: Mobile phone services were snapped in Kashmir Sunday as a precautionary measure for ensuring smooth passage of the Republic Day celebrations in the valley, officials said.

While mobile internet services were suspended hours after their restoration on Saturday, mobile phone connectivity was suspended in the early hours of Sunday, PTI reported.

 

Suspension of mobile phone and internet services on Republic Day and Independence Day has been part of the security drill in the Kashmir Valley since 2005 when militants used a mobile phone to trigger an IED blast near the venue of I Day celebrations.

Stringent security arrangements are in place for ensuring that Republic Day celebrations pass off peacefully. Security forces have been deployed along all roads leading to the venue of the main official function in the valley, the officials said.

Security forces have been deployed on high-rise buildings. Roads in the city and elsewhere in the valley wore a deserted look as people preferred to stay indoors.

Separatist groups like Hurriyat Conference used to call for a shutdown on January 26 and August 15 but no such call was issued this year as most of the separatist leaders are under detention since August 5 following the abrogation of provisions of Article 370.

On Saturday, the Jammu & Kashmir Government said it would allow mobile data services and internet access through fixed lines across the Union Territory.

Prior to their suspension for Republic Day, 2G mobile services were restored in the remaining eight districts of the Valley. This service had been made available in two districts--Kupwara and Bandipore earlier this month and also throughout Jammu region.

However, as per the order issued by the Home Department, internet speed would be restricted to 2G and limited only to the white-listed sites. The order said, “Access will be limited only to white-listed sites and not to any social media applications allowing peer to peer communication and Virtual Private Network applications”.

The order added, “Further the data services will be available on post-paid mobiles as well as prepaid SIM cards of such holders whose credentials have been verified as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections. For fixed-line internet connectivity, access will be limited only after Mac-binding”.

The order listed around 300 white listed websites including email services, banking websites, education-related websites, job platforms, entertainment, tour and travel, weather websites, etc. The officials said white listing of sites shall be a continuous process.

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