India

Kashmir revokes ban on text messages

A Kashmiri woman speaks on her mobile phone Image copyright AFP
Image caption The ban affected more than five million subscribers

Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir have revoked a four-year-old ban on text messages on mobile phones.

The ban, which affected more than 5 million subscribers, was imposed in December 2010 after massive street protests in the Kashmir Valley.

Police imposed the ban saying the separatists were sending group messages to mobilise the protesters.

Authorities said the ban was lifted because the security situation had now improved.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has instructed telephone companies to restore the service from Wednesday, his adviser Tanvir Sadiq told the BBC.

The move came after a barrage of requests was posted on social media, Mr Sadiq said.

"The government was already considering this. All aspects were reviewed and it was found that the security situation has improved and there was no need to keep the text messaging blocked," he added.

The restriction had been severely criticised by the residents of Kashmir and the opposition leader Mehbooba Mufti had organised street protests against the ban. Various rights groups had challenged the official curbs in court.

Kashmir has been in the grip of an anti-India insurgency since 1989. In recent years violence has abated from its peak in the 1990s, but the causes of the insurgency are still far from resolved.

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