Calling for the restoration of 4G mobile services in Jammu and Kashmir due to the COVID-19 lockdown, a PIL filed in the Supreme Court by the Foundation for Media Professionals argues that the right to health, education, and judicial services is now even more dependent on an “effective and speedy internet.”
“Doctors in Jammu & Kashmir have expressed their inability to download PDF files containing guidelines for intensive care management in hospitals or the damage caused by delays in receiving and accessing the latest protocols, studies, manuals, advisories, and containment strategies. The denial of access to critical information in times of a “notified disaster” seriously impacts the right to public health,” it states, adding that the rapidly changing situation requires high-speed information access.
The current 2G internet in the region also makes tele-medicine, online court hearings, video school lessons, and other work-from-home methods close to impossible, the petition argues. It cites various letters calling for 4G services, including Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and the Chief Doctors Association of Kashmir.
Under “a pandemic and a lock-down, the restriction of mobile internet speeds to 2G only is completely unreasonable, illegal, and unconstitutional,” the petition states. It adds that the petitioner is seeking the restoration of existing infrastructure, not an additional investment.
The total number of cases in the Union Territory stands at 70, including a doctor and their family members. Two COVID-19 related deaths have occurred in the Valley.
Sending videos, photos, and other smartphone features are not possible over 2G services, the petition states. The majority of online users in the region use wireless Internet, not a wireline.