Internet Access in Kashmir Restores for 2 Weeks

Karthik Nath
11 March 2020

After banning internet access in Kashmir for 7 months, Indian authorities have finally restored it for a period of 2 weeks on Wednesday.  In all these months, the entire region remained in a total communication blackout condition with no internet or social media access. 

However, the move comes with certain conditions with low internet speed on mobile devices being one of them. People in Kashmir would be able to access the internet till 17th March for now. Currently, institutes offering essential services, such as hotels, banks, hospitals, travel companies and government offices were allowed to access broadband services. 

As per a news report, many people were found trying to get social media and internet access in Kashmir through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which allow users to access it by hiding their location.

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Conditions on Internet Access in Kashmir

  • Mobile internet service will be accessible on postpaid connections only.
  • Prepaid connections can also get internet access in Kashmir unless they are verified as per the norms decided by the government.
  • One can only access the internet from a specific IP address 
  • If either the IP address or MAC (Media Access Control) address changes, the mobile devices will not able to access it.
  • MAC-binding allows government authorities to track devices on the basis of the activities they will do online.
  • High-speed internet network 4G, which is accessible throughout the country, will be blocked in Kashmir.
  • Internet access in Kashmir is restricted to the 2G network only.

How Things Turn Up?

On August 5 2019, the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi abrogated years old Article 370 and Article 35, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir. As a measure to safeguard the people and property from riot-like situations including stone pelting, the authorities here completely shut down the internet access in Kashmir.

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Longest in a Democratic Country

It could be due to security measures but India faced a backlash and criticism from several lawmakers which also includes US and Europian Union as well. This 7 months long unprecedented ban on internet access in Kashmir is longest in any democratic country all across the globe.

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