January 20, 2020

2G Internet In Selected Areas: Too little, Too late

Though government has thrown open 2G internet facilities in all districts of Jammu province and two border districts of North Kashmir area -Bandipore and Kupwara but it is too little and too late keeping in view the fact that facility has come only on supreme court intervention and speed is too low to check only e-mails but not the news websites for the purposes of professional activities. If at all the government had to impose internet curbs to stop rumour mongering amid security lockdown in the aftermath of August 5 decisions taken last year by the incumbent central government on the bifurcation of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state into two union territories and withdrawal of special status under article 370 and article 35 A , the access to 2G internet facility with restrictions on access to social media sites including what Sapp, face book, twitter should have been allowed to allow access to e-mails mostly demanded by journalists for their professional activities . Access to 2G internet facility just to check e-mails would have eased pressure on media centre in Srinagar set up for internet access to journalist after the imposition of security and communication lockdown in Kashmir valley on August 5 last year. Access to calling and 2G internet facilities on mobiles won’t have attracted criticism and condemnation of the government’s decisions on security and communication lockdown in valley from people of all shades and opinions within and outside Jammu & Kashmir for last more than five months. Allowing 2G internet facility to two border districts in North Kashmir and keeping it barred in summer capital Srinagar, a central place for key public activities like trade, industry, tourism, travel and media in valley is by all standards of understandabilities a crude joke and virtually denial of a fundamental right .
Internet facility declared a “fundamental right” by the apex court of the country can’t be extended to people in few areas and denied to populations in many other parts of any state or union territory, as such a decision for all practical purposes is for one reason or the other a discrimination disallowed by the constitution in any part of the country under any circumstances. So instead of extending 2G internet facility just to two border districts of North Kashmir and denied it to the people in other districts of Kashmir valley, better it would have been for the government to lift restrictions on broadband internet facilities with complete restrictions on social media sites to keep under check the possibilities of rumour mongering in Kashmir valley. Hope people at the helm ease restrictions on internet facilities at least to show respect to the orders and the observations of the country’s apex court on communication blockade in Jammu & Kashmir.
Kashmir highway shut for road maintenance work on Ramban-Ramsoo track
Rameez Rafiq Dar
Srinagar/Jan,20 : The traffic police authorities on Monday evening announced that Kashmir highway will remain shut for one way traffic due to maintenance of the road on Ramban-Ramsoo track on the highway.
A senior traffic police official told Kashmir Horizon over phone “ the highway would remain shut for one way traffic from both Srinagar and Jammu due to maintenance work on Ramban-Ramsoo track on the highway”. The highway is witnessing frequent shutdowns from December this winter triggered by the landslides triggered frequently by the continuing exaction work for four laning on the highway. The highway remained shut for three straight days due to heavy snowing last week .

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