The order issued on March 4 by Principal Secretary (J&K) Shaleen Kabra said direct internet access would now be available to people all across Jammu & Kashmir

For the first time after the abrogation of Article 370 since August 5 last year, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has decided to lift the ban put on access to social media sites.

In a fresh order, the J&K administration today said people would now be allowed unrestricted internet access. Earlier, the government had provided a list of websites that could be accessed in J&K.
Besides this, internet services would also be available on landline connections, but this permission will be granted following verification.

The new order shall be applicable only till March 17 on an "experimental basis", sources said, adding that this is a "step towards bringing normalcy in the Kashmir Valley".

The order issued today by Principal Secretary (J&K) Shaleen Kabra said direct internet access would be available to people across J&K. However, the order has also put in certain restrictions to this. Internet speed shall be restricted to 2G only.

In a previous order, the J&K administration had listed close to 1,600 websites (mostly related to education, banking, business and government) that were allowed to be accessed in J&K. The present order sets aside this restriction.

For the past seven months, many in J&K were accessing social media sites using VPN, a platform that enables the user to circumvent censorship.

However, while social media sites have been made accessible to the people, it remains to be seen if they are supported by the slow 2G speed.

Sources in the J&K administration privy to the decision-making process said they were initially mulling two options: (1) whether to allow 4G speed but restrict access only to the whitelisted websites, or (2) provide unrestricted internet access on 2G speed.

The administration finally decided to go with the second option. Sources said unrestricted internet access on 4G speed may become a possibility if the review of temporary social media access is satisfactory.

Courtesy : India Today

India Today