Government lifts SMS ban in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir State Government Tuesday decided to lift the ban on Short Messaging Service (SMS) on prepaid mobile connections from Wednesday morning (May 21). The Short Message Services (SMS) to all the prepaid mobile subscribers had been suspended vide Government Order No. Home -1479 of 2010 in December 2010.

“On the instructions of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, the restriction on SMS to the pre-paid cell phones in the State has been revoked”, an official statement mentioned adding, “The subscribers of pre-paid cell phones had made requests to the Chief Minister in this regard and he issued instructions to the concerned agencies to lift the said restriction.”

Sources said that after assessing the situation in Valley and further in the back drop of emerging new technologies, government decided to lift the ban of SMS on pre-paid services. All the cellular companies have received government order in this regard in which they have been permitted to start prepaid SMS services again.

On June 30, 2010, the government snapped SMS facility of cellphone users in J&K and the curbs continued till date, depriving 70 percent users from availing the service.

Though the State government previously maintained that it would take up the issue of revocation of the ban with the Central government, it later surfaced that the SMS on prepaid mobiles was banned on the orders of the State Home Department.

“The order to ban the SMS on prepaid subscribers in the State was ordered by the Home Department of J&K Government,” the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited had submitted before the State Human Rights Commission.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had justified the ban on prepaid SMS in the State and had said that the service was stopped to impose to check spread of false and frivolous rumors which have a potential to incite violence.

Confirming this, Chief General Manager BSNL, R. K. Koul said that they have received the revocation order from State Home Department and all the formalities will be completed during Tuesday night. “People of the State could avail the pre-paid SMS service fromWednesday morning,” Koul said.

He said that 8.50 lakh people avail prepaid services of BSNL in Jammu and Kashmir out of which 4.50 lakh subscribers are from Kashmir. (Inputs: CNS)