After his ‘dirty films’ remarks, Niti Aayog member’s apology to Kashmiris
VK Saraswat was quoted as saying that the internet in Jammu and Kashmir was being used to just watch “dirty films”.
NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat on Sunday apologised and said his remarks on the internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir were taken out of context.
Saraswat was quoted as saying that the internet in Jammu and Kashmir was being used to just watch “dirty films”.
“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,” said Saraswat, clarifying his earlier comments.
Responding to a reporter’s question during a program at Dhirubhai Institute of Information and Communication of Technology in Ahmedabad, Saraswat on Saturday had said that suspension of internet following government’s move to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution has had no effect on the business in the Kashmir valley and that nothing except “dirty films” were being watched by the people in the region.
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“What difference does it make if there is no internet in Kashmir? What do you watch on the internet there? What e-tailing is happening there? Besides watching dirty films, you do nothing there,” Saraswat had said.
In his clarification on the statement to ANI, Saraswat said, “The Institute had organized an interaction with the Press Club of the institute and myself. We were talking about many issues, including 5G. Instead of asking about the topic on which I had given a talk, they (the reporters) asked questions about the opinions on the performance of the government and the economy.”
“This was a personal discussion among the people who were there. So I strongly deny having said anything else,” he added.
The Centre had enforced a complete communication clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, a day before it withdrew the special status of the erstwhile state and divided it into two Union territories on August 5.
The government has gradually restored phone lines, but internet services and prepaid mobile services had remained suspended. While landlines were restored between mid-August and September, postpaid mobile services were back on October 14.
Mobile internet services were restored in Kargil, a part of the Union territory of Ladakh, in the last week of December. And, SMS on all mobile phones and broadband internet services were restored in government-run hospitals from January 1.
On January 10, the Supreme Court ordered the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review internet curbs and said access to the internet was a fundamental right.
The top court had given a week’s time to the administration to review the curbs.