Jammu, January 27 | Accusing the govt. of defying the verdict of Supreme Court over internet connectivity, Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman and former Minister regretted that the people in J&K continued to be deprived of what the Apex court described as the inviolable fundamental right of citizens.
He said that what was being offered to the people was very different from what the court had ruled. The Supreme Court had held that the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression included the right to the internet within Art 19 and restrictions under it have to follow the principles of proportionally under Art 19 (2). He said that the directives of the Apex court had been misinterpreted rather manipulated by the govt. by issuing orders for restoring 2G connectivity which is virtually nonexistent.
The service providers are unable to provide low-speed 2G services in view of the technology has become obsolete. The effect is that there is no delivery on the ground with people having been cheated over the issue and internet restored merely in papers only to fulfil the formality of compliance with Supreme Court orders, said Singh. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu.
Going by the Supreme Court orders, the mobile internet services ought to have been restored immediately after January 10, the day of SC ruling, in the same shape in which they existed prior to the imposition of the ban, said Singh. He, however, lamented that the govt. seemed to be hell-bent to prolong the agony of the people by continuing with the restrictions. He said that not only was the right to internet declared a fundamental right but the court had gone much ahead by ruling that govt. could not use arbitrary powers to ban internet for a prolonged period. Further, he divulged, the court had ruled that detailed reasons needed to be given for suspending such services even in critical situations as well.
Flaying the govt. for prolonging the longest ever internet ban in the country, Harsh Dev said that it appeared to have taken the people of J&K for granted. “And while the govt. had failed to give any reasoning for the prolonged communication blockade, its recent order on 2G connectivity, issued after SC Judgement had provided for “complete restrictions on social media applications”. And all this notwithstanding the fact the social media had become an important tool of communication and social liasoning”, regretted Singh. He said that simmering public discontent over the communication blocked could prove immensely counterproductive especially in a situation wherein the people were feeling let down by demotion of the state into UT besides other authoritarian moves of the present regime.
Asserting that the rule of whim prevailed in J&K in sharp contrast to the principles of a democratic system, the NPP Chairman said that the BJP leadership will have to pay a heavy price in the days to come for unwarranted restrictions imposed by it upon the freedoms and rights of the very people who catapulted it to power. The BJP has penned down its own obituary by its highhandedness and arrogance, its disregard for peoples’ sentiments and its contempt for democratic principles and human values and shall meet its waterloo at the hustings”, observed Singh.
Gagan Partap Singh, State Secretary-JKNPP, Parshotam Parihar, State Secretary-PTU, Surinder Chouhan, District President Jammu Rural-JKNPP & Shanker Singh, Ex-Sarpanch were also present in the press conference.