Jammu and Kashmir administration has told the the Union Ministry of Home Affairs that it did not have any objection in restoring 4G internet services or how people would use it, asserting that high speed internet connection would not pose any problem.
J&K Lieutenant Governor G.C. Murmu said that he was not worried about how people would use the high speed internet as Pakistan would continue to do propaganda irrespective of the internet speed. “We have been making (a) representation for this… I feel that 4G will not be a problem. I am not afraid how people will use this. Pakistan will do its propaganda, whether it is 2G or 4G. It will always be there… But I don’t see an issue,” he told Indian Express.
There has been a rising demand amidst the coronavirus pandemic to restore high speed internet connection in the valley ever since it was suspended on August 5 last year – hours before the Centre announced the abrogation of provisions of Article 370.
On Thursday the Centre, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court said that a special committee set up to examine the demands for restoring 4G services, following the orders of the court on May 11, had met twice on May 15 and June 10, and arrived at a decision that “no further relaxation of the restrictions on Internet services, including 4G services, would be carried out at present”.
On May 11, a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana had ordered setting up of a “special committee” headed by the Union Home Secretary to consider pleas for restoration of 4G internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, saying national security and human rights needed to be balanced.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration had later sought the dismissal of a plea by Foundation for Media Professionals at the Supreme Court by pointing out that high-speed internet would enable the spread of fake news/ rumours, and transfer of heavy audio/ video files, which could be used by terror outfits for incitement as also in planning attacks.
There has been widespread opposition to the curbing of freedom of press and speech in the valley. He said that J&K Information Department’s Media Policy 2020 was not discriminatory and follows the same policy as other states. The policy empowers the DIPR (Department of Information and Public Relations) to examine media content for fake news, plagiarism and unethical or anti-national activities. Any individual or group indulging in this shall be de-empanelled, it said.
Murmu however defended the policy saying it does not empower DIPR to decide whether a news is “anti-national.”