Relief for Valley: Centre restores SMS services after five months

Kashmir
He said the political activities of all other parties other than the BJP have come to a standstill in J&K for the last six months.

Mobile messaging services will be restored in Kashmir Valley on December 31 midnight, an official said. Besides, broadband services will be resumed in government-run hospitals by midnight, nearly five months after it was blocked in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on August 5.

On December 10, some short message service (SMS) were enabled on mobile phones in order to facilitate students, scholarship applicants, traders and others.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday (December 31), Jammu and Kashmir official spokesperson Rohit Kansal said it has now been decided to fully restore the service throughout Kashmir from midnight of December 31. Broadband services in government hospitals to start from 31 December midnight, he added.

Press Club demands immediate restoration of internet

Meanwhile, the Kashmir Press Club on Tuesday demanded immediate restoration of internet services to the media in the valley as the clampdown on internet has “severely crippled” the functioning of the fraternity and threatened suspension of publications.

“Kashmir Press Club held a meeting at the club in which all editors’ bodies and journalist associations unanimously demanded restoration of internet services to media fraternity in the valley without any delay,” the club said in a statement. Various media bodies discussed the “prolonged and unprecedented” internet shutdown which is now nearly five months.

Also read | Prolonged e-curfew stops beats of Save Heart Kashmir Initiative

“It was observed that the clampdown on internet has severely crippled the functioning of media fraternity in the valley. The participants were of the view that the government has deliberately muzzled the press to control flow of information which has equally impacted the readers who have a right to know the facts,” the statement said.

The club demanded the government lift the communication gag and allow free and unconditional access to internet.

Dip in number of youth joining militancy: DGP

As many as 160 terrorists were killed and 102 arrested in Jammu and Kashmir in 2019, while 250 ultras were still active, Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh said on Tuesday, noting that the number of local youths joining militancy has decreased.

He said that there is 30% fall in terrorist incidents, less civilian killings and 36% decrease in law and order incidents as compared to last year. “218 such youths joined militant outfits in 2018 but only 139 joined in 2019,” Singh said at the annual press conference at police headquarters.

Also read | Mobile Internet services restored in Kargil after 145 days of curbs

Of these new recruits only 89 have survived. “The rest have been eliminated as their shelf life is between 24 hours to 2-3 months after joining militancy. There are hardly few old terrorists surviving, which include Jehangir Saroori and Riyaz Nayikoo,” he said.

There have been only 481 law and order incidents this year as compared to 625 last year, he said. “250 terrorists have been active in Jammu and Kashmir. There is decrease in number of active militants as compared to last year,” Singh said.

Lakhanpur toll plaza abolished

Meeting a long-pending demand of local people and traders, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday abolished the road tariff at Lakhanpur toll plaza on Jammu-Pathankot Highway, from where it used to earn over ₹1,000 crore annually.

Meanwhile, the Union territory administration announced its decision to render the plaza toll-free in a notification issued by the Finance Department.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 4 of the Jammu and Kashmir Levy of Tolls Act, the government of Jammu and Kashmir hereby directs the toll post set up at Lakhanpur, district Kathua under the provisions of the Act, shall cease to operate with effect from January 1, 2020,” Financial Commissioner Arun Kumar Mehta said in the notification.

(With inputs from agencies)

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