145 days after restrictions were imposed and internet communications were blocked in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, mobile internet was restored this morning in Kargil, part of the union territory of Ladakh. Internet services, however, are yet to be restored in Kashmir Valley.
The restoration of mobile internet connections comes over four months after the government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s decades-old special privileges and split it into two union territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The services were restored because of complete normalcy returning to Kargil district, with no untoward incident taking place over the past four months, officials said. They said local religious leaders have appealed to people not to misuse the facility. Broadband connections were already functional in Kargil.
The government had said that the special status move would help ensure that people of the state get the same constitutional benefits as the rest of the country and spur development.
To prevent any backlash, the centre also imposed massive security restrictions and took measures that included arresting politicians, evacuating tourists, posting extra troops and blocking phone and internet lines.
Some of those curbs have been slowly relaxed, but mobile and internet communications in the Kashmir Valley are largely still blocked.
Hundreds of political leaders of Kashmr – including former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, as well as Mehbooba Mufti – have been placed under detention or house arrest since August as the government announced its move to end special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
The detention of Farooq Abdullah, 83, under the stringent Public Safety Act or PSA has been extended by three months. The PSA is a stringent law that enables detention without trial for three to six month
The restrictions, especially the clampdown on communication, has left residents frustrated and disrupted essential services. Last month, Home Minister Amit Shah told parliament that internet services would restored when the “local administration is convinced”.
Several nations, including the US, have expressed concern over the restrictions in the region.