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Postpaid Mobile Phone Services Returns to Kashmir Valley

Kashmir

Srinagar: Services of all postpaid mobile phones were resumed on Monday across the Kashmir Valley after it was suspended on the intervening night of August 4 and August 5 ahead of the scrapping of Article 370. The resumption of mobile phone service was a major move to lift the communication blockade in Kashmir. This brought back smiles on people’s faces. “We are really very happy that the mobile network has been restored, I had to go to my neighbours home every day to speak to my husband who is a software engineer in Hyderabad,” said Afrooza in Batmalloo Srinagar.

There was a general sense of relief among the people around 12 noon when parents, relatives, and friends started seeking welfare from each other after remaining cut off for over 70 days. “It is a great sense of relief. Looks like we have suddenly again been catapulted from the stone age into the present times,” said Bashir Ahmed rather jovially as his mobile phone started ringing in the Srinagar city.

A top official told: “Since the mobile phones have started working again in the valley, we hope the anxieties of parents, professionals and the business community have been addressed.” The official said it is hoped that after the resumption of mobile phones, parents will find it easy to send their children to schools, colleges, and universities. “We hope phone connectivity will also address the problems of the transport operators in the valley. “This was one of the biggest issues raised by the transport operators in their meetings with us regarding the resumption of public transport in the Valley,” the officer added.

The move comes almost two months after landlines were restored across Kashmir in a phased manner. However, there is still no word on the restoration of pre-paid phone connections and the Internet. Both Broadband and mobile Internet are suspended in Kashmir. “I am preparing for the Ph.D. exam, I get all the study material online, the only option left with me is to move out of Kashmir, for now, to prepare for the exam,” said Zahoor Ahmad. People were seen using mobile phones on roads, market places, inside offices, and banks talking to each other and expressing satisfaction over the administrative decision. “Communication would be fully restored once the Internet services are resumed on both fixed landline and mobile phones. “Resuming mobile phones without the Internet is only half of a good job done. We expect the resumption of the Internet in the Valley as the next logical step,” the University of Kashmir scholar said.

The government has received a lot of flak for curbing communication in Kashmir, the resumption of mobile phone service may just reverse that impression somewhat, however until the restrictions are not lifted on the Internet, it will only be seen as a partial resumption of communications in Kashmir. The relief came on the same day National Security Advisor Ajit Doval at a crucial anti-terror event explained how terror across the valley has been sponsored from over the border in Pakistan. (IANS)

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