Anuradha Bhasin case: J-K administration files affidavit in SC

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir administration on Thursday submitted an affidavit in the case filed by Anuradha Bhasin, the Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, challenging alleged restriction on working journalists in the Kashmir valley.

In the affidavit, the J-K administration stated that restrictions on movement have been completely removed barring 8-10 Police Stations.

Over 99 percent of areas of Jammu and Kashmir have no restrictions on any movement, the administration stated.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court posted the Bhasin’s plea for November 5.

The J-K administration also stated that telephone landlines have been fully restored and mobile phone facilities have been restored in Jammu and Ladakh and in Kupwara district.

“It is submitted that all post-paid mobile phones, irrespective of the telecom service provider, have been restored and are functional from 14.10.2019, covering all 10 districts of Kashmir province,” read the affidavit.

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Several restrictions were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the government scrapped Article 370 which gave special provisions to the state.

The administration said that the Fundamental rights under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution are not absolute and can be regulated in the interest of “sovereignty, integrity, the security of State, general public and within Article 19 (2) and (6)”.

“It is submitted that reasonable restrictions are always in built in any of the fundamental rights more particularly when there is compelling state interest. Further to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity, and integrity of the country is a fundamental duty of all- under Article 51A of the Constitution,” the affidavit said.

The administration told the Apex Court that restriction on modes of communication including mobile services, internet services, and landline services which are resorted to in “larger national interest”.

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“The State of J&K has its own State-specific geopolitical relevance. The said decisions have always been taken considering its long-standing history of terrorism from across the border, helped and abetted by some of the elements within the State in aggravating the same, acting as agents for the vested interest across the border,” read the affidavit.

“The menace of abuse of social media in the State by the anti-Indian forces across the border by spreading fake news, doctored videos and morphed images is so rampant that based upon a situation prevailing at any given point of time such restrictions are required to be resorted to,” it said.

However, the administration said that such restrictions are placed bypassing orders by the competent authorities which are reviewed from time to time.

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