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Prepaid SMS, Voice Calls, and 2G Mobile Services to Be Restored in Jammu and Kashmir - Official

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New Delhi (Sputnik): Since repealing the special quasi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir in August last year and then creating two federally administered enclaves - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in October, the Indian government has said that it will restore all forms of communication in the region in a phased manner.

The local administration in India’s Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday announced that it will be restoring more forms of communication in the region soon, more than five months after imposing a communications lockdown.  

Jammu and Kashmir’s Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal, addressing media in Jammu, said broadband internet and 2G mobile internet services will be restored in parts of Jammu and Kashmir soon, while voice calling and SMS services will be restored for all pre-paid mobile connections across the federal government-administered union territory.

Giving details of the latest government order, Kansal said 2G mobile internet services will be restored to access only white-listed (officially approved) websites in ten districts of the Jammu region and two districts of the Kashmir region - Kupwara and Bandipora.

He said the relevant authorities had reviewed the situation on the ground before recommending a further phased withdrawal of the communications clampdown imposed on 4 August 2019. Access to social media, however, would not be allowed for some time, he added.

Some netizens welcomed the announcement, while others said the administration needed to do more to restore people's faith in the system.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated last August after New Delhi announced amendments to Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, which led to revoking the special quasi-autonomous status of the then state of Jammu and Kashmir after more than seven decades.

Pakistan condemned India's decision, while the UN Security Council has informally discussed its implications thrice over the last five months, the latest meeting taking place on 15 January 2020 at China's request. However, there has been no discernible result.

Kashmir has been a bone of contention between the two countries since they gained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Both govern it in part but claim it in full. They have also fought three wars over Kashmir.

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