The ban on high-speed internet in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir has been extended until June 17 amid criticism from human rights groups. According to a government order made Wednesday night, the decision to limit internet connectivity in the disputed region was "necessary" and in the interest of the "sovereignty and integrity of India."
The region's high-speed internet has been cut off since last August, when India revoked its semi-autonomous status, divided it into two federally ruled territories and imposed a complete lockdown and communications blackout. After the Supreme Court stepped in, the Indian government in January only restored mobile internet services, first in Hindu-dominated Jammu and then in Muslim-majority Kashmir. However, only government-authorized "whitelisted" websites were accessible. Restrictions on social media remained in force until March 4.
India frequently shuts down mobile internet in the area, particularly during clashes between insurgents and government forces. Earlier this month, services were suspended for three days in the capital Srinagar after two militants were killed in a gunfight in a densely populated area on May 19. Numerous human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have repeatedly urged India to restore full internet access in the disputed region, with the calls gaining steam amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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