Have you ever thought, while India is heading towards 5G, that the people in its new Union Territory, Jammu and Kashmir, known as the Crown of India, are struggling to hear a single notification tone on their mobile phones?
The internet ban in the valley was imposed on 5th August 2019. Almost half a year has passed, and still, people of the new UT are sitting tight for the day when the legislature will reestablish web access completely.
The rest of India is running towards 5G, as Jammu Kashmir crawls towards 2G. The 2G service has been restored in the state, but with restrictions. Only selected ‘whitelisted websites’ can be accessed using 2G. One cannot access social networking sites using mobile internet services in the new UT.
After a long span of time, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on 14th January 2020 ordered for mobile internet service to be restored in the state. The service will continue till 7th February 2020 and will then be reviewed further. The administration had announced earlier, on 15th Jan 2020, that the broadband internet service for essential services like banks, hospitals, and hotels would be restored in phases. This announcement came just after the Supreme Court directed the government to review all the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier on 10th January, the apex court had said that access to the internet is a fundamental right, according to the Constitution. The next day, people tried to access social media sites, but those were already restricted. Due to multiple internet shutdowns in the state, earlier this year, many students were late in submitting their application forms.
No one was aware of the notifications that were announced for employment, and of what was going on outside Jammu and Kashmir. They were unable to check what was going on in their own union territory. While travelling out of Jammu and Kashmir, notifications started popping up right after crossing the Lakhanpur border that touches Punjab. The sound of notification came from the mobile phone of every passenger who was travelling on the bus with me.
If we talk about becoming a technology giant and running a race towards 5G, the union territory is still looking for 2G. Businesses in the state that need the internet to work are already facing a menace, as online services have been halted, because of the blockade.
People like me are waiting for full internet restoration. I hope our government makes the same announcement soon, so that the notification sounds of the messages and important information about admissions, employment, and other services can be made easily available to us.
Featured image provided by the author.