NUSRAT BASHIR /KT
Srinagar,22 July: Post 5 August of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, it’s been 352 consecutive day of 4G internet speed suspension in the valley. On 4th august 2019 preventive shutdown was imposed on internet in order to avoid any agitation in response to abrogation of Article 370 which is yet to be lifted entirely.
In the beginning of the shutdown, there was complete communication blockage for about 141 days. The blockade was not only on mobile services but on landlines as well. On 14th October postpaid mobile services without internet and SMS services were restored in certain parts while cellular networks in other districts remained under suspension.
Over 25 lakh prepaid mobile phones and other internet services, including Whatsapp, remained deactivated for nearly 5 months. In the month of January 2G internet services were resumed.
With the spread of the deadliest Coronavirus pandemic in the world, Jammu and Kashmir is the only region dealing with virus without proper internet facilities. The unavailibity of proper internet is halting the medicos to use equipment properly and to remain in touch with the worldwide doctors through videoconferencing which is only possible through high-speed internet.
Students continue to suffer in Kashmir by the repeated shutdowns. “It’s been a year since my daughter has attended school. Though there school has started online classes like many others, but poor internet connection and repeated buffering makes it difficult for her to attend classes daily” one of the parents told Kupwara Times.
As most of the interactive software and applications in the world today are 4G based, it is mockery of things to use 2G internet service on the same application. One of students of 5th class said “providing videos and assessment online, it takes ages to download study material on such speed of network” .
Repeated petition from various firms for the restoration of 4G services in Jammu and Kashmir, the center government in its continuous statements possess 4G restoration as threat to security and also to the spread of rumors, though it is still possible on 2G services.
In a report Over 30 lakh mobile subscribers base Reliance Jio have paid around 400 crore in bills and recharges without getting full services since August 2019. The J&K administration though extending restriction over 4G, certain cellular companies have been provided easy allowance for fiber connectivity, the high end internet services for which more than 3000 customers have so far subscribed to in at least 13 different uptowns and downtown areas of Srinagar sources told Kupwara Times.
“If the government claims the suspension of 4G is to avoid rumors ,why are certain companies allowed to install fiber connectivity which is providing speed more than 4G?”, one of the mobile user questions from Anantnag.
On 16 July, in a contempt petition filed by Foundation For media Professional (FMP) over the non-constitutional of a special committee to review the ban on 4G speed internet in Jammu and Kashmir, supreme court failed to list an urgent contempt petition against the government’s failure for over month. “People continue to suffer. Medical facilities continue to suffer. Children cannot take online classes. What the entire country enjoys, only J&K cannot. This directly infringes Article 21(right to life and liberty),” senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi said.