India restoring fast mobile internet in Kashmir after 18 months

A Kashmiri woman holds a girl as they watch a protest after a gun battle between suspected militants and Indian security forces in Srinagar September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Ismail/File Photo

SRINAGAR (Reuters) - India said on Friday it was restoring high-speed mobile internet in the federal territory of Jammu and Kashmir for the first time since August 2019, when the government withdrew the special rights of the restive Muslim-dominated region.

Jammu and Kashmir was India's only Muslim-majority state before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government split it into two, including an enclave with many Buddhists, and took direct control of both.

Much of the Himalayan mountain territory is also claimed by Pakistan, India's arch-rival in South Asia.

"4G mobile internet services being restored in entire J&K," local administration spokesman Rohit Kansal said on Twitter.

India broke up Kashmir in mid-2019 by sending additional troops mainly to the Kashmir Valley, and detaining political leaders to crack down on dissent in the region where India has been fighting an insurgency for decades.

One of those detained and released politicians, former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, tweeted his happiness at the New Delhi government's move on the internet.

"4G Mubarak!" he said, using an Urdu word for congratulations. "For the first time since Aug 2019, all of J&K will have 4G mobile data. Better late than never".

(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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