Prepaid Mobile Connections Restored in India-run Kashmir

The Indian government on Thursday revoked a ban on new prepaid mobile phone connections in Jammu and Kashmir, after introducing rules for stricter verification of users' identities.

Prepaid phone users pay for service before using the device, unlike in post-paid plans in which they pay after usage for a certain period, usually a month.

On Oct. 30, 2009 India's Department of Telecommunications instructed mobile service providers not to issue new prepaid mobile connections or renew existing prepaid connections from Nov. 1, citing their misuse by militant organizations operating in the territory.

Separatist Kashmiri Muslim groups are demanding independence for the part of Kashmir currently under Indian control. The other part of Kashmir is controlled by Pakistan.

The procedures followed for issue of prepaid connections, particularly the verification of the identity of the users, were very lax, the government said.

The ban ran into protests from residents of the territory, and was contested in the country's Supreme Court by a local party, National Panthers Party.

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