New Delhi: The government has decided to ease restrictions on communication in Jammu and Kashmir with landline numbers to be activated soon, ThePrint has learnt. Mobile internet services, however, will continue to remain suspended in the Valley.
Sources in the defence and security establishment have said that relaxation of restrictions — which were imposed Sunday night, hours before the government announced removal of Article 370 and proposed division of the state into two union territories — will be done area-wise and in a phased manner.
People will also be allowed to attend Friday prayers. Strict vigil will be kept on trouble makers and on the Imam’s speech. They also added that Eid-ul-Zuha celebrations will take place in Kashmir on 12 August.
“Section 144 has not been imposed in all areas of Kashmir. Only in selected parts. A decision to remove restrictions in specific areas of Srinagar will be taken later depending on the situation. However, communication modes will be opened,” said an officer.
The sources also pointed out that while Section 144 has been imposed, there is not much restriction on the movement of people and vehicles.
Internet to remain suspended in Kashmir
While broadband connections have been activated in some parts of Jammu, the sources said internet will continue to remain suspended in Kashmir.
“The easing of communication restrictions has already begun. Landlines will be activated first, which will be area-specific. Slowly 2G network services will be rolled out in Kashmir. However, internet will continue to remain suspended for now,” a source said.
The sources also pointed out that Kashmir often witnesses internet shutdown whenever law and order situation is bad.
“This time there was a blanket ban. Even landlines remained dead because there was a fear that miscreants could use various communication modes to ignite violence in the wake of the government’s announcement,” said another source.
It was felt that the government’s decision would provoke unrest but a shutdown and heavy deployment of troops have helped prevent any untoward incident or agitation by locals.
There were sporadic accounts of stone pelting but no major incident has taken place. Although the situation remained peaceful in Kashmir, security agencies predict that violent incidents might take place later. But they are confident that those will be handled efficiently.