In the wake of the effective abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), leading to the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories (UT), Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India challenging the freedom of the press in the state.
As per the report published, the petition seeks to allow the journalists in J&K to practice their profession in a free environment as restrictions through a blanket ban on the internet and telecommunication services hamper them from executing their duties. Besides, the restrictions on the movement of reporters and photojournalists also come in the way of reporting fairly from the state, the journalist claimed.
Abrogation of #Article370 challenged in Supreme Court
— Times of India (@timesofindia) August 10, 2019
Lawyers Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee, and Ratna Appnender represent the petitioner, and the petition was filed through Advocate on Record Sumika Hazarika. Bhasin is one of the signatories to file a petition expressing her displeasure with the Government of India’s (GoI) decision to abrogate Article 370. It is noteworthy to mention that common people are happy with GoI’s move to remove the discriminatory article granting separate status to J&K, which in turn, led the state into an array of uncertainties for the lack of development.
Bhasin’s petition states, “information blackout set in motion is a direct and grave violation of the right of the people to know about the decisions that directly impact their lives and their future.”
According to the petition, at the time the political developments in J&K and curtailment of mobility and telecommunication in the valley are creating anxiety, alarm, insecurity, and fear amongst the residents of the valley. The petitioner believes, there is information blackout in Kashmir.
Ahead of the big announcement on Article 370, the GoI clamped down on mobile networks, internet services, and landline phones in the Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu. This was done to curtail fear-mongering and keeping a check on propaganda machinery from targetting unsuspecting public on the government’s bold move.