No restriction on movement of media in J&K: Centre tells SC

Straight Line News Network

New Delhi, Oct 1: The Central govt on Tuesday filed a counter-affidavit in a petition filed by Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin challenging the curb on media in J&K in the wake of abrogation of its special status.

The government said that the restrictions were imposed on the internet, mobile and landline telephones so as to prevent the dissemination of “rumours, fake propaganda, and activities that could disturb public order and tranquillity”.

In the affidavit, the Centre contended that there are no restrictions on the movement of the media personnel in the region. “Regular press briefings and press releases are being organized to disseminate the information,” it stated.

They said that the attempt to engender the normalcy is being stalled by “separatist elements and militants”. “There have been numerous threats to common citizens from terror outfits threatening them from resuming normal salubrious life in the Kashmir valley,” the affidavit stated.

The health services are functioning normally, it said, adding that there is sufficient stock of essential and life-saving drugs and other medical requirements across the hospitals in the region. Advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing on the behalf of Bhasin, refuted this and told the court that people are not being able to access the health care facilities in the region.

The top court also admitted an intervention application filed by Foundation for media professionals, through President Paranju Guha Thakurta and Indian Journalists Union, in the case.

On this, the court has asked Centre to file an affidavit and posted the matter for hearing on November 16.

Bhasin filed the petition after the government on August 5 scrapped J&K’s special status and implemented a curfew and communication blockade in the region.