Srinagar, Feb 25, 2020: Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday (February 25) confirmed that social networking sites and virtual private networks (VPNs) will remain blocked in the Union Territory in order to prevent the anti-national elements and people across the border to "misuse" these platforms. The authorities added that 2G mobile Internet services were extended in Jammu and Kashmir till March 4, Zee reported.
Jammu and Kashmir administration said that it has been found that anti-national elements and their handlers sitting in Pakistan are still misusing the VPNs to create unrest in India. According to government officials, the anti-national forces are using VPNs to coordinate with their operatives within the UT and plan terror acts.
The order to continue the restrictions till March 4 was signed by Jammu and Kashmir Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra.
As per the order, all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been asked to take steps aimed at ensuring that people in the Union Territory can access only 1,674 white-listed sites and not any social media applications and VPN applications.
It may be recalled that the 2G internet facility on mobile phones was restored in Jammu and Kashmir on January 25 after being suspended on August 5, 2019 when the Centre decided to abrogate Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
"Data services shall be available on the postpaid mobiles and on prepaid SIM cards of such holders whose credentials have been verified as per the norms applicable for postpaid connections; and the internet speed shall be restricted to 2G only," the order said.
"Internet connectivity shall be available only after mac-binding. It is further directed that all those who are provided access to the internet shall ensure that it is not misused for uploading the provocative material inimical to the interest of the state," it added.
The order, however, noted that the access or communication facilities made available by the government by way of e-terminals or internet kiosks would continue.