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India restores internet in Kashmir government hospitals

Post-paid SMS facility restored to all phones in Indian-administered Kashmir, coinciding with New Year festivities

Hilal Mir   | 31.12.2019
India restores internet in Kashmir government hospitals FILE PHOTO

SRINAGAR, Jammu, and Kashmir

After five months of its suspension, internet services in all government-run hospitals and mobile messaging service to all phones will be restored in Indian-administered Kashmir from midnight.

The government spokesman Rohit Kansal told a press conference in Jammu, winter capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, that internet will be restored to limited facilities that included all government-run hospitals.

"Restoration of post-paid SMS [Short Messaging] service and internet to hospitals is part of government's ongoing efforts to normalize the situation," Kansal said.

Hours before stripping Jammu and Kashmir its autonomy on Aug. 5, the Indian government had clamped a communication blockade. All phone and mobile services were suspended in the region, housing 12 million people.

The communication blockade, the longest ever in the world, has been lifted partially in some areas. However, the Kashmir region is still without prepaid phone service, broadband, and mobile internet services.

The SMS service was briefly restored along with postpaid mobile phones on Oct. 14 but closed after a few hours, with the government saying the service was misused for subversive activities.

The government had opened internet kiosks at several offices so that students could submit admission forms and people can book tickets.

Kansal added that "around 600,000 persons like students, tour operators, businessmen, contractors, etc. were facilitated at 900 internet touch points established by the government at various places in the Valley."

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