By Hilal Mir
SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir (AA) - Indian authorities said Saturday they have restored mobile internet in Jammu and Kashmir as residents complained of its low speed.
Users were disappointed to find out that after more than five months of internet lockdown they could not access social media.
Many of them were unaware that their internet service providers were only allowed to give them access to 301 "white-listed" websites
“It takes ages to open email. How can you load a form or fill online passport application at this speed? We will still have to visit high-speed internet kiosks in government offices for such tasks,” said Peerzada Manzoor, a resident of Kupwara district.
Mohammad Tahir, a Dublin-based Kashmiri academic, tweeted on Saturday: “North Korean style of Internet. Only government vetted websites accessible. Means I still cannot see faces of my family members even after so many months. I cannot collect data for my research through online interviews.”
More disappointed were dozens of journalists who could no more access social networking sites at the Media Facilitation Centre, a government-run facility, which has been their only source of internet all these months. The service provider, according to officials of this facility, has said the fresh government order prevents them from allowing access to social media.
The Muslim-majority Himalayan state was placed under an internet lockdown last August prior to the Indian government's move of scrapping the autonomous status of the region.
The ban was lifted after a Supreme Court ruling earlier this month called the internet restriction unlawful.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.
Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.