2G mobile internet restored after five months

Only 301 websites on ‘whitelist’, social media blocked

Srinagar: The government on Saturday partially lifted ban on internet by restoring low speed (2G) mobile internet with restricted access across the Valley.
Both post-paid and pre-paid subscribers on all mobile networks were able to access limited 301 websites and a complete ban on social media.
The development followed the home department’s order late on Friday night announcing restoration of 2G mobile internet in Kashmir. Both broadband as well as mobile internet across ten districts of Kashmir was suspended on the eve of August 5, when the government of India abrogated Article 370.
The order issued said only 301 ‘whitelisted’ websites can be accessed on internet while social media websites including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp etc stand blocked.
The government also excluded dozens of news websites including Kashmir Reader from the ‘whitlisted’ websites. Leading news agency PTI, Firstpost, Indian Express, Associated Press, AFP were also not included in the list of websites.
However, search engines, email servers, education, banking sites, travel and employment websites are among the 301 restored websites.
The latest development comes after the Supreme Court, in a significant ruling on January 10, asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review within a week all orders imposing curbs in the Union Territory.
The Supreme Court came down heavily on the J&K administration for arbitrarily shutting down the internet, the facility described as a fundamental right by the court.
However, broadband and fixed line internet was not restored till late evening on Saturday. A private Service provider said, they have not been conveyed any further order about restoring internet to subscribers.
The Home department order has categorically made the Internet Service Providers (ISP) liable for ensuring that only approved websites are accessible on internet.

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