Written byRamya Patelkhana ·
The Center has decided to restore the Short Messaging Service (SMS) in the Kashmir Valley from the midnight of December 31, nearly five months after its suspension since August.
The service will be restored on 40 lakh post-paid mobile phones in the Valley, said Jammu & Kashmir Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal on Tuesday, announcing the central government's decision at a press conference.
Kansal also announced that broadband internet services will be restored in government-run hospitals and schools in Kashmir from December 31 midnight. However, there is no clarity on the restoration of mobile/broadband internet services throughout the Valley.
He said messaging services were earlier restored on select mobiles on December 10 to help students, scholarship applicants, and traders from being affected by the communication blockade.
The restrictions on the internet and mobile messaging services were imposed as part of the communications shutdown in Jammu & Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.
The Center had scrapped Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir and split it into two Union Territories - Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
"Internet is the primary tool not just of radicalization but of militants mobilizing youth to engage in stone-pelting as well," a central government official told the LiveMint.
"The Center will review the security situation in the Valley and then a call will be taken on the same. Because of internet being restricted, there have been much fewer cases of militant recruitment," the official added.
Five detained politicians - two from the National Conference (NC) and three from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) - were reportedly released from custody by the Jammu & Kashmir administration earlier on Monday.
These political leaders have been kept under preventive detention since August 5, the day when the Center abolished the provisions of Article 370.
Meanwhile, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti continued to remain under detention. Most politicians in Kashmir were detained hours before the abrogation of Article 370 to ensure that they don't fuel dissent among the people.
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