Voice calls and SMS facilities were been restored on prepaid mobiles across Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on Saturday. The services have been down since August 5 when the Center abrogated Article 370 that gave special status to J&K. 2G internet data will also be enabled but it will be restricted to 153 'white-listed' websites in 12 districts.
These 12 districts include all districts of Jammu division and 2 districts of Kashmir division -- Bandipora and Kupwara.
153 websites that will be operational in the newly formed UT will include travel websites, banking websites, education websites, job platforms etc. No news website has been included in the list.
Here is the list of all the 153 websites that will be operational in J&K from today
As per reports, the mobile internet services in regions that are prone to disturbances and violence like Shopian and Pulwama will remain suspended.
Earlier, Supreme Court had ordered the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review within a week all restrictive orders imposed in the Union Territory. The bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai said suspending internet indefinitely violated telecom rules.
"After a careful review, the competent authority has ordered today (Saturday) that voice and SMS facility shall be restored on all local prepaid SIM cards across the Union Territory of J&K.
"Further in order to consider, provision of mobile internet connectivity on such SIM cards, the telecom service providers shall initiate the process of verification of credentials for these subscribers as per available norms for postpaid subscribers," Kansal, who is the official spokesperson of the government, said.
He said the internet service providers -- BSNL and private service providers -- would provide fixed line internet connectivity with precautions already directed to all companies engaged in the software services sector.
"2G mobile data services on postpaid mobiles for accessing the whitelisted sites shall be allowed in all 10 districts of Jammu division and to begin with in the two revenue districts of Kupwara and Bandipora in Kashmir division," Kansal said.
He said the mobile internet connectivity would, however, remain suspended in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian districts in the Valley.
On January 10, the Supreme Court came down heavily on the UT administration for arbitrarily shutting down the internet, the facility described as a fundamental right by the apex court.
Referring to the January 14 order when the government announced partial restoration of 2G services in five of the 10 districts of Jammu and broadband facilities for essential services including banks, government offices, trade, tourism and travel establishments, Kansal said the overall effort is to keep the restrictions to bare minimum based on the ground situation.
As per the order issued by Principal Secretary, Home Department, Shaleen Kabra "the directions would be effective from Saturday and remain in force till January 24, unless modified earlier.
"Assessment of the overall security scenario in the UT of J and K pursuant to directions on January 14 relating to the regulation of telecom services does not indicate any immediate adverse impact in the areas where internet access was provided," the order read.