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After 17 days, mobile Internet services restored in Kashmir

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Mobile Internet services have been restored in the Kashmir valley after 17 days, reports Press Trust of India. Services were cut in over 10 districts on July 9 after security forces killed militant Burhan Wani which sparked widespread protests and violence. This is the longest period where mobile Internet was banned since September 2015 when services were snapped for a week in Gujarat following the Patidar agitation.

During the period, all private telecom companies in Jammu and Kashmir were asked to block both Internet and voice services for a day “as a precautionary measure” to curb “anti-national elements from spreading any misinformation”

Other bans in Internet in Jammu and Kashmir include:

– Mobile Internet services were cut off in Jammu and neighbouring districts following violent protests in the region over a temple descration in June.

–  Internet services were suspended in five districts in Kashmir in April  due to protests over the death of 4 people in clashes with the security forces.

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– In September 2015, Jammu and Kashmir had suspended Internet services for two days following apprehensions of violence in the state in light of the beef ban in the state.

In February, the Supreme Court of India upheld the districts and states’ right to ban mobile Internet services for maintaining law and order in February. The  bench said: “it becomes very necessary sometimes for law and order.” Typically bans such as this are enforced under Section 144 of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) which allows local law administration to ban unlawful assembly and justify short bans on Internet services

UN resolution on Internet

The United Nations passed a resolution which condemned measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to information online and advocated a “human rights” based approach to Internet access. India had supported an amendment by Russia and China, which sought to remove the human rights, based approach.

List of Internet blocks since September 2015

July 11, 2016: Jammu and Kashmir districts of Ananatnag, Shopian, Pulgam and Sopore/ 17 days/ (link).
July 1st, 2016: Barmer and Jaisalmer (Rajasthan)/48 hours/ (link)
– June 17th, 2016: Jammu(Jammu and Kashmir)/unknown length of time/ Mobile Internet and bulk SMS (link)
June 4th 2016: Sonipat (Haryana)/unknown length of time/Mobile Internet and bulk SMS (link)
– May 17th 2016: Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh)/unknown length of time/Wireline and Mobile Internet (link)
– April 18th 2016: Gujarat/3 days (link)
– April 16th 2016: Jharkhand/unknown length of time (link)
– April 14th 2016: Kashmir/1 day (link)
– February 28th 2016: Gujarat/4 hours (link)
– February 19th 2016: Haryana/more than 1 day/Mobile Internet and SMS (link)
– December 20, 2015: Rajasthan/unknown (link)
– September 25th 2015: Jammu & Kashmir/2 days/Wireline and Mobile Internet (link)
– September 4th 2015: Manipur/2 days/Wireline and Mobile Internet (link)
– September 2nd 2015: Gujarat/ 1 week  (link)

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The Software Freedom Law Centre has tracked 30 incidents on Internet being cut off in since 2013.

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