After 70 days of communication lockdown in Kashmir, postpaid mobile services on the BSNL network were restored in Valley on Monday. The government had last week announced that postpaid mobile phone services — around 40 lakh in the Valley — would be made operational from noon on Monday. Internet services have not yet been restored.
According to sources, the continuance of the mobile services would depend on how the security situation in the Valley unfolds. The calculation is based on fears of a rise in militant attacks and the possibility of more organised public protests once mobile telephony returns to the Valley, sources said.
The restoration of cellphone services is part of a series of announcements by the administration on easing of restrictions that were imposed around August 5, when J&K was stripped of its special status.
Since August 16, the administration has been easing restrictions in a phased manner. Partial fixed-line telephony was resumed in the Valley on August 17 and by September 4, nearly 50,000 landlines were declared operational. In Jammu and Ladakh, mobile phones had been made functional earlier.
“Having reviewed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, a decision has been taken to restore mobile-phone facilities in all the remaining areas of Jammu and Kashmir. More specifically, all post-paid mobile phones, irrespective of the telecom service provider, will stand restored and be functional from 12 noon on Monday, October 14, 2019,” J&K government spokesperson Rohit Kansal had said on Saturday. However, over 20 lakh prepaid mobile phones, and mobile and other Internet services will remain deactivated for now.
In Jammu, the communication was restored within days of the blockade and mobile internet was started around mid-August. However, after its misuse, internet facility on cell phones was snapped on August 18.
Internet and mobile connectivity, landline phones were snapped on the intervening night of August 4 and 5, ahead of the Centre decision to bring about constitutional changes to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, bifurcating it into two Union territories — J&K and Ladakh.