New Delhi, April 30: Access to 4G Internet will lead to violence, disturb public order and “indeed threaten the security of the country”, the Jammu and Kashmir administration told the Supreme Court on Thursday, opposing petitions seeking high speed internet in the newly created Union territory.
Mobile Internet with 2G service was restored in Jammu and Kashmir in January –six months after it was removed as part of restrictions when the Centre ended the special status of the state and bifurcated it into two union territories in August.
On Thursday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration told the top court that there has been an increase in terror activity across the border after outbreak of the global pandemic of COVID-19, NDTV reported.
On the internet, shadow handles — believed to be at the behest of the Pakistan Army — are being run to incite the Kashmiri people, glorify terrorists and terror organisations and spread anti-India propaganda, it said.
The restriction in the internet speed is to stop “misuse of data services, applications like WhatsApp and Facebook for mobilizing crowds by anti-national elements”. This, the government said, has the potential to cause large scale violence, disturb public order and “threaten the security of the country”, adding that the right to internet was “not a fundamental right” granted by the Constitution.
The “current discourse of social media” suggests that “Pakistan is aiming to incite violence amongst college and University students” and that an increase in internet speed will lead to the “swift uploading and posting of provocative videos and other heavy data files”, the administration said in its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.
For any activity dependent on heavy network usage, broadband and fiber internet connectivity is available throughout Jammu and Kashmir, the government said.
The restrictions announced in August included a complete communications blackout. Phone services and internet connections were suspended in the Kashmir Valley and curfew-like restrictions were put in place.
Around 400 political leaders, including three former Chief Ministers, of the Kashmir Valley were also detained. Former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and his father Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were released in March as the coronavirus infection spread across the country.