People familiar with developments said the government had decided to restore mobile phone services on Friday night. However, a high-level meeting decided that mobile internet connectivity would remain suspended till the 17th day of the holy month of Ramzan (May 11). (HT FIle Photo )
The Jammu and Kashmir administration is contemplating a move to suspend mobile internet connectivity for a few more days, though prepaid mobile phones were restored late on Friday night.
Authorities had snapped mobile internet across Kashmir as an operation to nab Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo was underway at Gulzapora Beighpora on Wednesday, and only broadband connectivity through fixed line telephones was available in the region.
The police have apprehensions that Naikoo’s killing could trigger massive clashes like those witnessed after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016, and believe it would be better for mobile internet services to remain suspended for some more time.
Police officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they didn’t want to take any chances this time. “After the killing of Naikoo, there were clashes at some places. To prevent the spread of the clashes in different parts of South Kashmir, the internet was snapped. It could be restored with a few days,” said a senior police officer.
People familiar with developments said the government had decided to restore mobile phone services on Friday night. However, a high-level meeting decided that mobile internet connectivity would remain suspended till the 17th day of the holy month of Ramzan (May 11). The day coincides with Badr, the first and decisive battle in the history of Islam when the first few hundred adherents of the religion took on their powerful opponents in Arabia and won, according to historical accounts.
There are also inputs from intelligence agencies that militants might try to target security force installations on the day of Badr.
The intelligence agencies had earlier issued warnings about attacks on this particular day. Last year too, there were similar reports about possible attacks on the 17th of Ramzan.
Already, 3G and 4G services have been barred in Kashmir despite numerous appeals from mainstream political leaders and only 2G services were restored, resulting in very slow internet connectivity.
Officials in Jammu and Kashmir contend that restoration of 4G services could give rise to anti-national activities and militancy.
Kashmir’s divisional commissioner Pandurang K Pole described the suspension of mobile internet connectivity as a temporary measure and said services would be restored very soon.
Director general of police Dilbag Singh told Hindustan Times that after the killing of Naikoo, the Hizb had become headless and this was a setback for the group. “Now it has to be seen how long Pakistan will keep this group headless,” he said.