Postpaid mobile phone services likely to resume in Kashmir from Monday

Ceria Alfonso
Octubre 12, 2019

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.

Authorities also released three low-ranking politicians in the region earlier in the week.

While internet remains blocked, Kansal said internet kiosks were being set up, some specifically for tourists.He also said travel restrictions had been lifted from "more than 99%" of the state.

"Barring 8-10 Police Stations, movement restrictions have been completely removed".

This podcast contains recorded snippets of a phone conversation over landline - the only form of communication available in Kashmir to the outside world.

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. "Tourists are welcome to visit the state and they will be facilitated for their visit". Internet facilities are being opened at tourist spots to assist those who would want to access it, he added. "Credible inputs are being received about the likelihood of large-scale terrorist attacks, sponsored by forces inimical to the nation and from outside its borders".

The official said on Saturday that since August 16 there has been a gradual removal of the restrictions and by the first week of September, majority were removed.

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"The restrictions were imposed so that externally-aided terrorism does not lead to a loss of innocent lives".

The government has urged businessmen, industrialists, traders, transporters, shopkeepers, hoteliers and contractors "not to be frightened by the threats of terrorists and separatists and go about their normal activities".

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.

The administration has also chose to hold Block Development Council elections on October 24, the first electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5.

Another former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah has been arrested under the controversial Public Safety Act, a law enacted by his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was the chief minister.

However, internet services will continue to remain suspended. Private transport was plying unhindered in Srinagar and other districts across the valley, the officials said. While the situation in the Kashmir Valley continues to be grim, neighbouring Ladakh is in the middle of a crisis of its own.

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