A file photo shows journalists using the internet t a government-run media centre in Srinagar. (Reuters)
New Delhi: Even as the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday restored internet services in certain parts of the Union Territory after 167 days of suspension, it restricted the access to just 153 “whitelisted” websites. These include websites under the categories of mail, services, education, banking, travel, employment, among others.
The websites mentioned in the government’s “whitelist” are categorised under ‘mail’, ‘banking’, ‘education’, ’employment’, ‘entertainment’, ‘services’, ‘travel’, ‘utilities’, ‘weather’, ‘web service’, and ‘auto mobiles’. No social media websites are on the list.
Moreover, while the list includes several major websites and streaming services like ‘Hotstar’, ‘SonyLiv’, and ‘Airtel TV’, which offer access to certain television news channels, no dedicated mainstream general news website is mentioned.
Websites of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the Passport Office, and the Income Tax Department are some of the major government websites mentioned in the list.
According to the government order, 2G internet services on postpaid mobiles will be allowed in all 10 districts of Jammu division and in the revenue districts of Kupwara and Bandipora of Kashmir Valley. However, internet connectivity will remain suspended in the districts of Srinagar, Badgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian, and Pulwama.
Only voice and SMS services will be restored in the entire Union Territory of J&K on all local prepaid SIM cards, the order said.
“In order to consider provision of mobile internet connectivity on such [prepaid] SIM cards, the telecom service providers shall initiate the process of verification of credentials of these subscribers as per the norms applicable for post-paid connections,” it said.
The administration has also ordered fixed-line internet connectivity with precautions to the companies engaged in software services in the Valley.
“Telecom service providers are being issued instructions to operationalise the directions immediately after providing all the safeguards detailed in the order issued today by the competent authority,” said Principal Secretary to Jammu and Kashmir government Rohit Kansal.
Internet services in J&K were suspended in August before the central government revoked the special status of the state on August 5 and bifurcated it to two UTs.
(With agency inputs)
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