SOURCE: Hindustan Times

National Conference MP Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said that no progress is taking place in Jammu and Kashmir in the absence of high-speed internet.

Addressing the Lok Sabha for the first time since his release from detention, Abdullah said that the decision to suspend internet services in the region was against the interest of students and businessmen.

“No progress is taking place in Jammu & Kashmir. People there do not have access to 4G facility, how are they going to grow in the present time when the rest of the country has access to every facility on the internet… Today our children, shopkeepers don’t have a 4G facility that is there in the rest of the country. How will they study, get education, when everything these days is on the internet,” he asked during zero hour of the ongoing monsoon session.

Mobile phone, landline and internet services were suspended in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir hours before the Centre, on August 5 last year, effectively nullified Article 370 which accorded the region special status. The state was bifurcated into Union territories— Jammu & Kashmir with a legislative assembly and Ladakh without one.

The government, on August 15 this year, restored high-speed mobile internet services in two districts of Jammu and Kashmir on a trial basis, a little over a year after the facility was snapped ahead of the revocation of the region’s special status and its bifurcation.

Abdullah also called for talks with Pakistan, referring to the ongoing talks with China amid the border standoff at Ladakh.

“Border skirmishes have been rising and people are dying…as you are talking to China to attempt that it withdraws (from LAC), we should also talk to our (other) neighbour to find a way to get out of this situation,” he said.

Abdullah was among several leaders who were put under detention by the Centre last year ahead of the changes in the regions status, and was released in March this year.