STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday evening allowed 2G mobile Internet in parts of Jammu region and broadband in hotels, travel establishments and hospitals but only on white-listed websites, official said. In a three-page order, the Home Department said that the police authorities have brought to notice material relating to the terror modules operating in the UT of J&K, including handlers from across the border, and activities of separatists/ anti-national elements within who are attempting to aid and incite people by transmission of fake news and targeted messages through use of internet to propagate terrorism, indulge in rumour-mongering, support fallacious proxy wars, spread propaganda/ideologies, and cause disaffection and discontent. Based on the intelligence inputs and assessment of the law and order situation obtaining on ground, the law enforcement agencies, while detailing the present situation, have inter-alia reported about the sustained efforts being made by the terrorists to infiltrate from across the border, re-activate their cadres and scale up anti-national activities in Kashmir Division as well as terrorism affected areas of the Jammu Division, by communicating effectively with their operatives within the UT of J&K through Voice on Internet Protocol (VOIP) and encrypted mobile communication through various social media applications to co-ordinate & plan terror acts and the misuse of data services by anti-national elements has the potential to cause large scale violence and disturb public order which has till now been maintained due to various pre-emptive measures, including restrictions on access to internet with relaxations in a calibrated and gradual manner, after due consideration of the ground situation; and related to essential services and Government hospitals have also been provided access to Internet, the order said. Taking into account the ground situation and after considering the available alternative measures, in light of the reports of the authorized officers, Principal Secretary, Home Department, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and the sub-rule (1) of rule 2 of the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Sendees (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017 hereby direct the existing access/ communication facilities indicated in the para 4 above shall continue and the Divisional Administration Kashmir shall additionally establish 400 internet kiosks in Kashmir division. Internet service providers will offer broadband facility (with Mac binding) to all institutions dealing with essential services, hospitals, banks as also government offices. Mac Binding means to enforce a client machine to work from a particular Internet Protocol address. Prior to giving such facility, the ISPs shall install necessary firewalls and carry out ‘white-listing’ of sites that would enable access to Government websites and websites dealing with essential services, e-banking, etc. excluding, however, all the social media sites, the official said adding that to amplify, there shall be complete restriction on social media applications allowing peer to peer communication and virtual private network applications for the time being.
The Institutions and Government offices that are being provided internet access shall be responsible to prevent any misuse, for which they shall take all the necessary precautions, including appointment of nodal officers, keeping a record of persons/devices, managing and monitoring day to day usage, changing accessibility credentials on a daily basis and ensure internet availability to only authorized users, etc, the order added.
In order to facilitate tourism, broadband internet would be provided to hotels and tour and travel establishments.
The order also said that the 2G mobile connectivity on post-paid mobiles for accessing white-listed websites including e-banking will be allowed in districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi — all in the Jammu region.
However, in the other districts of the UT of J&K, mobile internet connectivity shall remain suspended till further directions, pursuant upon a review of the adverse impact, if any, of this relaxation on the security situation, it said.
The authorized officers shall ensure communication of these directions to the service providers and ensure their implementation in letter and spirit, it said adding that the aforesaid directions shall be effective from January 15, 2020 and remain in force for a period of seven days, unless modified earlier.
The order comes days after the Supreme Court had made harsh observation on the JK administration for snapping Internet services, which the apex court said was a fundamental right of the people.
Internet services were suspended across J&K on August 5, when the Centre announced to scrapping of the Constitution’s Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh. However, in Jammu, broadband services were restored in October last year, while in Ladakh, both mobile and broadband services were restored.
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