Internet services in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir will continue to remain restricted to 2G speed until 3 April, according to a Home Department order issued on Thursday.
“Internet speed shall be restricted to 2G only till April 3 unless modified earlier,” said an order issued by Shaleen Kabra, principal secretary to the government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
2G internet services were restored on January 15 by the government, almost five months after the suspension of services in wake of the abrogation of article Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
The Indian Constitution's Article 370 had granted special autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The provision allowed the State's local legislature, the Constituent Assembly, to make its own laws on certain specified subjects.
After removal of the special status, the Indian government imposed several precautionary restrictions fearing a public backlash. The measures included suspension of internet services and SMS. Internet services were partially restored on 15 January while the ban on mobile messages was lifted earlier.
In fact, a top leader of the Kashmir region, Farooq Abdullah, wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week requesting him to restore 4G internet services in the valley. Abdullah argued that unrestricted mobile internet was imperative to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“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,” Abdullah wrote.