The restoration of cellphone services and overall connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir will be expedited, the home ministry said today, quoting Union home minister Amit Shah. Mobile, landline and internet connectivity was snapped in Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, when the government ended the special status of the state and announced its plan to bifurcate it into two union territories.
News agency Press Trust of India quoted Zuber Nishad Bhat, a sarpanch from Harvan in Srinagar district, as saying that the home minister has assured them that the mobile phone services in the state will be restored in the next 15 to 20 days and Rs 2 lakh insurance coverage will be provided to them.
The minister's assurance comes days after his cabinet colleague, foreign minister S Jaishankar, explained the continuation of restrictions to a magazine in Belgium.
"It wasn't possible to stop communications between militants without impacting all of Kashmir. How do I cut off communication between the terrorists and their masters on the one hand, but keep the Internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know," he said in an interview with Politico magazine in Brussels.
Several nations, including the US, have expressed concern over the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government earlier said that all measures imposed to prevent a backlash after the announcement -- will be withdrawn in phases, depending on the ground situation.
In mid-August, while mobile internet was restored in all five districts of Jammu but was snapped again. While the administration blamed a mechanical glitch, local sources said it was disconnected to keep the peace during a rally by right wing groups.
In Kashmir Valley, 17 of 100-odd telephone exchanges were made operational. Landline services were restored in Budgam, Sonamarg and Manigam areas of central Kashmir. In north Kashmir, the services were restored in Gurez, Tangmarg, Uri Keran Karnah and Tangdhar areas.
In Srinagar, landlines are back in the Civil Lines area, Cantonment area and near the airport. Officials said 20 more phone exchanges will be operationalised soon.
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