02:41 GMT04 April 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India withdrew the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir in early August 2019 by abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution. The federal government also suspended telephone and internet services in the state and placed hundreds of political leaders and civil rights activists under house arrest.

    A top leader of India's Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Farooq Abdullah on Thursday has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask him to restore 4G internet services in the valley in the wake of a partial lock down in large parts of Kashmir to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

    In the letter to Modi, Abdullah said, " As you are aware, the first case of coronavirus was detected in Kashmir on 18 March which has resulted in authorities locking down large parts of the valley,"

    "Businesses and students already hit hard by the shut down after 5 August 2019 are again suffering because of these restrictions. The people are being advised to work/study from home but this is impossible with 2G internet speed and limited fixed line internet penetration," wrote Abdullah.

    He  further requested the prime minister to restore 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir to ease the suffering of the people.

    The demand for 4G internet escalated in the valley after majority of people adopted self quarantine after the first case of COVID-19 was detected from Kashmir.

    Dr. Abdullah, a former chief of Jammu and Kashmir wasunder house arrest under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), but was released on Friday 13 March, after the government revoked his detention. Two other former chiefs, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are still under house arrest.

    After Jammu and Kashmir was stripped off its special status on 5 August 2019, internet services were suspended. Later, the government restored 2G internet services on postpaid mobile phones, broadband and lease line services

    After the first Coronavirus case was detected in India in January and since then, there have been a steady increase in positive cases with at least 149 affected and undergoing treatment. 

    In an effort to prevent further spread of the infection, the federal government has closed schools and universities and banned public gatherings. On Thursday, it has also enforced a 'Work from Home' policy for a section of its employees and employees of state-run enterprises. 

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    coronavirus, COVID-19, leader, Kashmir, Narendra Modi, Jammu and Kashmir, India
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