The Jammu and Kashmir government Tuesday decided to lift the ban on short messaging services (SMS) on prepaid mobile connections with effect from Wednesday. “On the instructions of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, the restriction on SMS to the prepaid cell phones in the state has been revoked,” said an official statement issued here. “Subscribers of prepaid 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.”
SMSes on mobile phones were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir in June 2010. In 2013, however, the ban on these services was lifted on post-paid mobile connections, but continued on prepaid accounts. Sources in various service providers confirmed that they have received instructions from the state government to resume short messaging services on prepaid mobile phones as well with effect from Wednesday.
In response to a Right to Information (RTI) plea, the central government had clarified that the decision to impose ban on SMS on prepaid cell phones in Jammu and Kashmir was taken by the state government and not the central government. Intelligence agencies said in 2010 that prepaid mobile phone SIM cards were issued by various service providers in the state without foolproof verification and this service was being used by separatist guerrillas to send messages to their cadre.
Following orders from the state home department, the service providers in the state have been now adopting a strict verification procedure before issuing prepaid or post-paid SIM cards to subscribers.