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Updated: Indian Government Revokes Ban On SMS In State Of Jammu & Kashmir


Update: That was very very quick. According to another notification issued today by the Department of Telecom, of which MediaNama has a copy, the ban has been revoked with immediate effect.

Earlier today: The Indian government has restricted the usage of text messages/SMS in the terrorism plagued state of Jammu and Kashmir, according to a report by news agency PTI, quoted subsequently by multiple media publications. While post-paid users have been banned from sending SMS’ altogether, pre-paid users are restricted to 10 SMS’ per day per subscriber.

Meanwhile, no takers for 3G spectrum in Jammu & Kashmir. No data services allowed their either, yes?

The reports also claim that messages originating outside J&K service area from International Long Distance (ILD) operators should not be delivered to mobile subscribers in J&K. While not explicitly stating it, this apparently refers to messages coming from across the Jammu & Kashmir border, from Pakistan or Pakistan administered parts of Kashmir.

It is probably possible to prevent messages just from Pakistan from being delivered to subscribers in India, so we wonder if it’s a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater by banning all SMS’ altogether. We couldn’t find the said notification on the Department of Telecom’s website, and in case any you reading this have received it, please do mail it across to nikhil@medianama.com.

Also note that in March, a report in the Pakistan media had alleged that Indians who called Pakistan would receive a warning SMS stating that “You just made a call to ISD Code 0092 (Pakistan’s international dialling code). We urge you to exercise caution while calling unknown number and sharing personal details as it can be misused.” I guess those in Kashmir wont be able to receive such messages anymore.

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  • DeepThroat

    This is worse than China censoring Google results. If this is indeed true, then it is a case of misplaced priorities. In stead of strengthening counter-intelligence mechanisms, the Govt. is impinging on the freedom to communicate. The effect of this on the psyche of people there can't be anything but negative.