Voice Calls, SMS Restored on Prepaid Services in J&K

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SMS and Voice Calls have been restored for prepaid mobile connections in Jammu and Kashmir, said officials of the union territory on Saturday, in the latest measure to relax some of the severe restrictions enforced last August.

2G internet services will also be restored with some restrictions on postpaid SIM cards in Bandipora and Kupwara districts of Kashmir and 10 other districts of Jammu, said senior officer Rohit Kansal while addressing a press conference.

He said that to give mobile internet connectivity on such SIM cards, the telecom service providers will have to verify the credentials of the subscribers. Internet service providers have also been asked to provide fixed-line internet connectivity in all the 10 districts of the Jammu region and two districts, Kupwara and Bandipora, in North Kashmir, said Kansal.

The center had enforced a strict communications blackout in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year, when it scrapped the erstwhile state’s special status under Section 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated it into two union territories. The extended blackout has been criticized by many in India and Abroad, including the United Nations and the US government.

The decision to restore connectivity came after the Supreme Court, in response to a petition last week, ordered a review of all the restrictive orders that are still in place. This, the court said, should be done within a week. “Suspension of free movement, Internet and basic freedoms cannot be an arbitrary exercise of power,” the court said.

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