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Broadband, 2G mobile data to be restored in Kashmir from today, conditions apply


Close to six months after a complete communication blockade was imposed in Kashmir, the Union territory’s administration has decided to restore broadband and mobile data services at 2G speeds, effective today.

Broadband services will be limited to 300 “whitelisted” websites.

The development comes a week after it provided broadband access to 153 government websites, while restricting mobile data services, citing an increase in infiltration attempts by terrorists.

According to a notification issued by the J&K home department, internet access will be limited to whitelisted sites, which have been expanded to 300 from 153, while restrictions on “social media websites that allow peer to peer communication and Virtual Private Network Application” will continue.

The administration will also review the situation on 31 January and after consultations with intelligence and security authorities, take a call on including social media sites platforms to the list of accessible platforms.

“Last year — before 5 August — it was found that a huge chunk of radicalisation was happening online. Networks are set up in Rawalpindi in Pakistan and the IP addresses cannot be tracked. These operators then reach out to the youth in Kashmir and that is how radicalisation had spiked online. Even if internet services were shut down briefly during an operation, they found a way to circumvent that ban,” said a senior intelligence official, seeking anonymity. He said, “this is reason enough to not open up social media so soon.”

On 1 January, the local administration had restored SMS services in the valley and provided broadband access to government hospitals in Kashmir.

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