Kashmir’s wait for 4G Internet service set to get longer

Published : April 10, 2020 11:50 IST

In Srinagar, journalists browse the Internet at the media centre set up by the government. Photo: Dar Yasin/AP

The Supreme Court has sought a reply from the Centre on the restoration of 4G Internet services in the Kashmir valley. The court was hearing, on April 9, a Public Interest Litigation petition filed by the Foundation for Media Professionals on the issue. The restoration of 4G Internet was imperative in the battle against COVID-19, the petition stated. It challenged the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s March 26 order that restricted Internet speed at 2G, arguing that people in Kashmir were unable to access important guidelines and latest updates regarding the pandemic because of the slow Internet speed.

The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices N.V. Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai heard the PIL through video conferencing and issued the notice to Standing Counsel of Jammu and Kashmir over e-mail and sought its reply in a week’s time.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, who appeared for the petitioner, pointed out that the plans to kickstart virtual classrooms for school children during the lockdown would come a cropper if 4G Internet remained suspended. The Directorate of School Education in J&K recently took the initiative to reach out to students on the mobile app Zoom.

He contended that the decision to deny the people of Kashmir high speed Internet was violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution. The PIL further stated: “The right to health is a composite right which requires the state to take active measures to ensure the presence of necessary physical, and, by extension, digital infrastructure, and a well-functioning Internet, especially in times of an epidemic such as COVID19, is an essential part of this digital infrastructure that is required to make this right an effective reality.”

Last month, Amnesty International India had called for restoration of uninterrupted 4G Internet services at the earliest. “There is growing anxiety around the pandemic, and unwarranted restrictions on content and dissemination of information only stand to add to the panic,” Amnesty International India said on March 19.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

The COVID-19-induced lockdown and the absolute necessity for human beings to maintain a physical distance from one another in order to contain the pandemic has changed our lives in unimaginable ways. The print medium all over the world is no exception.

As the distribution of printed copies is unlikely to resume any time soon, Frontline will come to you only through the digital platform until the return of normality. The resources needed to keep up the good work that Frontline has been doing for the past 35 years and more are immense. It is a long journey indeed. Readers who have been part of this journey are our source of strength.

Subscribing to the online edition, I am confident, will make it mutually beneficial.

Sincerely,

R. Vijaya Sankar

Editor, Frontline

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor