Internet services restored in Jammu and Kashmir

Broadband user image by Google
After remaining suspended for four days, internet services across Jammu and Kashmir were restored on Monday as the suspension was criticised.

“Internet services have been restored throughout the state today morning,” a senior police officer told IANS in Jammu on Monday, adding: “Suspension of internet services had become necessary to maintain peace and harmony in the state on the occasion of the Eid festival.”

Following re-assertion of 1982 beef ban law by the state high court earlier this month, a controversy has been raging in religious and political circles of the state with Muslim clerics and separatist and mainstream politicians saying that the order amounted to interference in the religious rights of the majority Muslim community.

To strengthen their base in Kashmir Valley, some separatist leaders had been urging Muslims to defy the order by offering bovine animal sacrifices on Eid-ul- Azha festival.

However, the senior hardline separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani, had appealed to Muslims in the state not to commit any act on the Eid festival that could hurt the religious sentiments of other communities.

Many anti-social elements aiming at stoking communal passions were uploading bovine slaughter pictures on the social media, using the internet.

Fearing that such pictures and posts showing bovine animal slaughter during the Eid festival would be hitting the social media in large numbers, authorities decided to suspend internet services on mobile phones, dongle appliances and even on fixed landline connections.

The four-day long suspension of internet services hit the common man and the business community badly.

“We have been in trouble during the last four days since we could not file our corporate Income Tax return during this period and the last date for doing the same is the 30th of this month. The least the authorities can do to help us is to get the last date for filing of the IT return extended by at least a few days more,” said Devinder Gupta, a businessman in Jammu.

Many youth who had to file their job applications online are also ruing the suspension of the internet services.

“I had to file my job application online, but could not do this due to the non-availability of the internet,” said Sunil Kumar, 26, a youth in Pacca Danga area of Jammu city.

Internet savvy youth in the Kashmir are complaining that they missed all the fun during the Eid festival.

“We remained completely out of touch with our Facebook friends during this period. Whatsapp also did not work nor could we download music or movies during the holidays,” complained Adnan Shafi, 17, a resident of Ganderbal district.

“If someone is misusing the internet, why can’t the government identify them and block their access to the service,” he asked.