While intelligence agencies had red flagged the restoration of internet services, the administration made it clear that neither mobile internet nor social media sites will be made accessible to the public, despite the ongoing blackout which has stretched over five months.
In an order issued by the J&K home department, the administration has categorically mentioned that "misuse of data services" by terrorists could potentially disrupt the status quo in the Valley, with repeated attempts being made by militant groups to infiltrate from across the border.
However, civilian access is yet to be provided with only institutions, including government websites and websites dealing with essential services, being granted access to in a phased manner, according to the order. The order, issued late Monday night, also specified that the institutions will be responsible for preventing any misuse and will be required to take necessary precautions.
Analysts, however, stated that the Centre’s reason for withholding internet from the general public carried little weight.
“We had greater militancy in 1998, and there was no internet then. Now as per government claims, militancy has reduced. For the sake of a few militants it is not right to hold an entire society to hostage. On the contrary, modern communication technology will help to nab them," said Noor Ahmad Baba, political analyst in Kashmir. The presence of forces had already ensured watertight security in the Valley, negating the need to clamp down on communication, he added.