Postpaid mobile services to be restored in Kashmir by Monday

The newspaper ad on Friday's dailies

The newspaper ad on Friday's dailies

The administration in Kashmir has chose to restore all post-paid mobile connections from Monday, weeks after the central government abruptly announced the ban coinciding with the abrogation of Article 370 on Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government cut off telephone and internet lines in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of revoking the state's special rights on August 5, striking down long-standing constitutional provisions for the Muslim-majority region that is also claimed by neighbouring Pakistan.

A security personnel stands guard on a street during a lockdown in Srinagar on 11 August 2019, after the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy.

Speaking to media in Srinagar, spokesman of the state government Rohit Kansal said, "Following improvement in the overall situation in the valley it has been chose to allow post-paid mobile phone services from Monday forenoon".

Mobile network and landlines connections were suspended across Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, in view of security concerns in the region following Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370.

Sources said, it had initially been chose to allow mobile phone connectivity only on BSNL post paid cell phones, but keeping in view the fact that not many locals have post paid BSNL mobile phones it was made a decision to restore services on all post paid mobile phones operated by different service providers.

Tens of thousands of extra troops were also sent in an operation that critics said virtually cut off Muslim-majority Kashmir, which has been gripped by an insurgency for the past three decades, from the outside world.

J&K Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said there has been a gradual removal of restrictions since August 16 and by the first week of September, most restrictions were removed. "So unless they actually do this on Monday, this is just another one of their announcements", he told AFP.

He said that it is now a well-established fact that there have been sustained attempts from across the border, both in the past and more so in the last two months, to promote militancy and terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir in order to create a sense of fear and terror among the people and keep the place in a disturbed condition.

India maintains that most people in its part of the disputed region support the move to take away the special status. It had faced worldwide pressure however to ease the clampdown.

The restoration of mobile phone services will address the demands of all sections of the local society who had been seeking lifting of communication clampdown in Kashmir. It meant ambulances and other emergency services could not be called to take patients to hospitals. "Will they get a service".

Also read: Abdullah, Mufti in Kashmir aren't "pro-India mainstream". The two countries have fought two wars over the territory and cross-border clashes regularly erupt.

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