J&K: After 13 days of clampdown, landlines, internet partially restored
As assured earlier, the government eased restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, which has been under an unprecedented security cover for days now. A PTI report said 17 out of over 100 telephone exchanges were made functional in Kashmir on Saturday. This means more than 50,000 landlines were made operational. Meanwhile, mobile internet services were restored in five districts of Jammu region. Here's more.
All modes of communication were snapped in J&K on August 4, a day before Centre decided to annul Article 370, which awarded special status to the border state. The clampdown forced residents to remain indoors and sparked outcry among Centre's critics. However, the BJP government defended its decision by saying necessary steps were taken to ensure safety, and it worked as no one died.
As per reports, landline services have been restored in Budgam, Sonamarg and Manigam areas of central Kashmir. Gurez, Tangmarg, Uri Keran Karnah, and Tangdhar also got connectivity back, and so did Civil Lines area, Cantonment area and airport area of Srinagar. Meanwhile, 2G services are back in Jammu, Reasi, Samba, Kathua and Udhampur districts. Reportedly, Rajouri administration ordered educational institutions to re-open from Saturday.
In a press briefing on Friday, J&K Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam appreciated the cooperation of locals in maintaining peace. He explained the government went on overdrive this time as credible intel inputs suggested Pakistan-based terrorists wanted to throw normal life out of gear with their notorious actions. The senior official added that the government's decision will contain separatist emotions.
The circumstances in J&K prompted several people to knock on the Supreme Court's doors against the Centre. While hearing a plea filed by the executive editor of Kashmir Times, who sought restoration of communication lines, the CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led bench noted that Centre should be given more time. The apex court was told by the Centre's representative that the situation is being reviewed daily.
Notably, the United Nations Security Council held rare "closed-door talks" to discuss J&K on China's request. After the meeting, India reiterated that Kashmir is an internal matter, and Pakistan should do something about terrorism before it talks about dialog. Further, Indian Ambassador to UN Syed Akbaruddin revealed that the security council appreciated the efforts which New Delhi undertook to restore normalcy in J&K.