After being silent for almost 70 days, over 40 Lakh postpaid mobile phones have once again started ringing in Kashmir from October 14 onwards after the government decided to restore the mobile phone connectivity in the valley.
Days after the Jammu and Kashmir government revoked the Home Ministry advisory issued on August 2 asking the tourists to leave Kashmir valley, the government issued orders that all postpaid mobile phones across the Kashmir valley will be restored from Monday. The decision to restore mobile connectivity was also taken following the government’s decision to release political detainees across the state in a phased manner.
“There are around 40 Lakh postpaid mobile connections in the valley and all are being restored from today, BSNL has been restored and in the next few minutes other service providers will also be restored,” a senior functionary of the Jammu and Kashmir government said.
The decision to suspend mobile phone connectivity in the valley was taken after the parliament decided to revoke discriminatory Article 370 and 35A from the constitution. “In order to ensure peace in the valley and to make sure there was no law and order problem in the valley, this decision (to suspend mobile phone connectivity) was taken,” the officer said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Government announced on Saturday that all post-paid mobile phones in Kashmir province would be restored from October 14 (Monday), 2019 from 12 noon. “The mobile phones have already started ringing in the Kashmir valley,” a senior police officer said.
On October 12, Rohit Kansal the Principal Secretary Planning, Monitoring, and Development, who is also the spokesperson of the government had said that after reviewing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, a decision was taken to restore mobile phone facilities in all the remaining areas of Jammu and Kashmir. “More specifically, all post-paid mobile phones, irrespective of the telecom service provider, will stand restored and be functional from 12 noon on Monday, 14 October 2019. This will cover all 10 districts of Kashmir province,” Kansal had said.
He said that with this step, tourists will be able to visit the state without being handicapped by the lack of phone connectivity; students can be in touch with parents while attending schools, businessmen can be in touch with customers, transporters can contact clients, and contractors can be in touch with staff.
He said the Government was urging the businessmen, industrialists, traders, transporters, shopkeepers, hoteliers and contractors not to be frightened by terrorist threats and separatists and go about their normal activities. “The government is firm in its resolve that the attempts of these disruptive elements will be foiled. The Government thanks the people of Jammu & Kashmir for being cooperative and helping in maintaining peace and public order,” he said.
Explaining the reasons behind the restrictions imposed in the light of the important constitutional changes that were made in relation to Jammu and Kashmir on August 2019, he said that a number of restrictions were imposed from 4 August 2019 in order to prevent externally aided terrorists from disturbing the peace and inflicting casualties on innocent citizens.
He said that it is now a well-established fact that there have been sustained attempts from across the border, both in the past and more so in the last two months, to promote militancy and terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir in order to create a sense of fear and terror among the people and keep the place in a disturbing condition. The restoration of mobile phone connectivity in the valley has come as a snub to those who used international media to portray that Kashmir was under lockdown.
“Kashmir has never been under lockdown, these were reasonable restrictions that were put in place, earlier phone booths were made available at various places, then landlines were restored across the valley, air and land connectivity were always open and now mobile phones have also started ringing. Lockdown was myth propaganda created by anti-India lobby” a senior police officer told Republic.