‘Apologies if I’ve hurt Kashmiris’ feelings’: NITI Aayog’s VK Saraswat says his remark was ‘taken out of context’

NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat on Sunday clarified that his statement was taken ‘out of context’ and that he is not really against the rights of Kashmiris to have internet freedom. He also apologised for in case his ‘misquotation’ hurt the feelings of Kashmiris.

“I have been quoted out of context. If this misquotation has hurt the feelings of the people of Kashmir, I apologise and would not like them to carry this impression that I am against the rights of the Kashmiris to have internet access,” Saraswat was quoted by news agency ANI.

This comes a day after controversies erupted around Saraswat’s comment that the internet was being used in Kashmir only to watch ‘dirty films’.

NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat justified the clampdown on the internet services in Kashmir on Saturday, saying that it was used by the people of Jammu and Kashmir to watch dirty films. He further said that politicians use social media to fuel protests, and therefore the clampdown was important after the abrogation of special status. He had also said, “What difference does it make if there’s no internet in Kashmir?”

“They (politicians) use social media to fuel protests. What difference does it make if there’s no internet in Kashmir? What do you watch on internet there? What e-tailing is happening? Besides watching dirty films, you do nothing,” he said on the sidelines of the annual convocation at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT).

The NITI Aayog member had reasoned that internet services were shut down in Kashmir as there were “miscreants” who would spread “misinformation” about article 370 abrogation to create “law and order situation.”

Earlier, the mobile internet was partially restored in five districts of Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370. The administration of Union Territory also allowed broadband in hotels, travel establishments and hospitals but only on white-listed websites. 

The Jammu and Kashmir administration restored 2G mobile connectivity on postpaid mobiles for accessing white-listed sites, including for e-banking in the districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur, and Reasi.

Clampdown on internet services was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre’s abrogation of provisions of Article 370 on August 5 last year. 

Courtesy : DNA

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