By: Tasaduq Hussain
Srinagar: The Ministry of State (MoS) for communication Thursday informed the parliament that the temporary restrictions on the communication channels were restored in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir after remaining suspended in national and the security interest while 91.4 per cent J&K and Ladakh population stands connected with 4-G network.
The Minister of State (MoS) for communication Sevusinh Chauhan was replying to queries including whether it is a fact that the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir continue to remain victims to frequent internet shutdown and/or poor internet connectivity and the details of steps, if any, taken by Government to redress their grievances, in view of the fact that the entire country has shifted to online world during the pandemic?.
In a written reply filed to the parliament, the MoS said that the Police and public order are State subjects as per seventh schedule of the Constitution and States are responsible and empowered to issue orders for temporary suspension of internet service to maintain law and order in the State or part thereof under the provisions contained in the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017.
“The contribution of internet for the well-being of citizens has to be balanced with social media platforms being misused by anti-social elements requiring temporary shutdowns as per rules based on the assessment by Local (State/UT Government) Authorities”, the reply reads.
The MoS said that in view of the Constitutional changes and bifurcation of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir into Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh, in national interest and also in the interest of security of J&K, temporary restrictions on various communication channels like internet and mobile services were resorted to in Jammu and Kashmir.
It further reads that subsequently, the matter was reviewed from time to time and restrictions imposed were gradually eased out in a phased manner and 4G internet data services were restored in the entire Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir w.e.f. 05.02.2021 About 91.4% of population of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh is already covered through 4G mobile networks and with the ongoing expansion of the networks by the TSPs, more percentage of the population will get covered by the 4G mobile network. (KNO)