A day after reviving post paid mobile phone services, the Home Ministry has yet again decided to snap text messaging services in the Kashmir valley taking cognisance of the situation. Republic Media Network sources have notified that the decision was taken by the Home Ministry after a meeting in the north block telecommunications. Mobile phones in Kashmir buzzed back to life on Monday, connecting 40 lakh post paid subscribers to their families and friends in the country, the Valley and their neighbourhoods after 72 days but without any internet facilities.
The phones started ringing from noon as promised by the government on Saturday and people across the Valley quickly dialled out to speak to those they had been unable to since August 5, when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status and reorganised the state into two union territories.
The resumption of the service is only on post paid connections, only for voice connections. Over 25 lakh prepaid mobile phones and other internet services, including WhatsApp, will remain deactivated for now, officials said.
Security forces are fully geared to meet any challenge arising out of the opening of mobile communications, officials said. Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had earlier said mobile phones were being used by terrorists to spread a hate campaign in the state. Lack of mobile phone connectivity caused immense hardship to the people and the announcement of its restoration is the most significant step towards ending the communication blockade.
"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 school, businessmen can be in touch with customers, transporters can contact clients and contractors can be in touch with staff," Kansal said on Saturday.
In Jammu, communication was restored within days of the blockade and mobile internet was started around mid-August. However, after its misuse, internet facility on cell phones was snapped on August 18. Mobile communication in the Valley was shut down to prevent externally aided terrorists from disturbing the peace and inflicting casualties, officials said.
(With PTI inputs)