Hours after the US State Department expressed concern over the Indian government denying access to the internet to its own citizens, the Jammu and Kashmir administration decided to suddenly restore 4G connectivity. The 4G services were abruptly snapped with the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August 2019, ending special rights to people in the valley.
Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary to the Jammu and Kashmir administration, took to Twitter to announce the decision, “4G mobile internet services being restored in entire J&K.”
Reacting to the announcement on the restoration of 4G services in the valley, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter, “G Mubarak! For the first time since Aug 2019 all of J&K will have 4G mobile data. Better late than never.”
The government’s decision to end the internet blockade lasting for 551 days came hours after the new US administration headed by President Joe Biden minced no words in expressing its displeasure over the crackdown against the protesting farmers. A State Department spokesperson had said, “We recognize that unhindered access to information, including the internet, is fundamental to the freedom of expression and hallmark of a thriving democracy.”
As expected, netizens were quick to link the decision to restore 4G connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir to the recent international criticism for the human rights violations in India.
Restoration of 4G in Kashmir is our internal matter. But we did it after being reminded about human rights by external forces.
— PuNsTeR™ (@Pun_Starr) February 5, 2021
For one and a half years, Indians have been demanding restoration of 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir. But Govt took no action.
After just one day of international headlines on how internet is being restricted, human rights violated, Govt has now decided to restore the 4G!
— Dhruv Rathee 🇮🇳 (@dhruv_rathee) February 5, 2021
— Ajay Kumar Khemka (@Ajaykumar00009) February 5, 2021
Restoration of 4G in Kashmir clearly indicates that PM Modi is on backfoot and making grounds to please the Biden administration.
— Samavritti (@samavritti) February 5, 2021
Several international celebrities including pop icon Rihanna, climate activist Greta Thunberg, US Vice President’s niece Meena Harris and former porn star Mia Khalifa had taken to social media to condemn India’s internet blockade in view of farmers’ protests.