Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh has said broadband internet service in the valley will be restored on a “limited scale” in the coming days. “Curbs have been relaxed to a large extent. Phones are working (in Kashmir Valley). Broadband is functional in all districts of Jammu and we are thinking of restoring this facility, wherever possible, on a limited scale in Kashmir in the coming days,” the police chief told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Kathua district on the weekend.
However, he remained non-committal on the release of political leaders, including three former chief ministers, who are under detention since August 5 when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and reorganised the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Internet services across all platforms continue to remain suspended in the valley, along with prepaid phone service.
On December 4, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor G C Murmu had said that internet services would be restored in Kashmir in phases once the situation turns “more normal”, but gave no timeline.
Asked when detained political leaders would be released, the DGP said, “It is difficult to speak on this at the moment. We will inform you when there will be something.” Almost the entire mainstream political leadership in the valley, including three former chief ministers — National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti — have been under detention since August 5.
Landline phones were the first to be restored in the valley on August 25 followed by post-paid mobile phones after a gap of 72 days on October 14. However, SMS facilities were stopped within a few hours after the Army claimed terrorists were using the services to mobilise people.
Over 25 lakh prepaid mobile phones and internet services remain suspended. There has been a growing demand for restoration of internet services, especially from media, business and student communities. Earlier, officials had said there are apprehensions that vested interests might misuse internet services to create a law and order situation in the valley and a decision to restore these facilities would be taken at an appropriate time after assessing the situation.