Blanket ban on internet

J&K is a sensitive state. Owing to its sensitivity, the Government of the State is on tenterhooks all the time lest anything untoward happens and law and order are disrupted.  In a bid to ensure that malevolent elements, of which we have no dearth, do not disrupt law and order situation and paralyze normal life in the State, the Government, on Friday mounted extraordinary vigil and alerted the law enforcing agencies. Without fear of contradiction the Government is within its powers to anticipate a situation and take preventive measures that are in national interests. Among other measures in this context, the Government curtailed the internet services as well for reasons it felt were unavoidable. However, what we see is that practically and literally blanket ban has been imposed on internet. The State Government is reported to have requested the Ministry of Home Affairs for blanket ban. We are somewhat surprised that in doing so, the authorities have not realized that entire life gets paralyzed owing to blocking of the internet. Who does not know that the media entirely depends on internet service which stood crippled on Friday? Entire banking system, railway reservations system and communication system in the State have come to a standstill.  Owing to blanket ban on internet, people of various trades and professions have been put to serious inconvenience. Tourist and pilgrims are stranded owing to inability to verify or confirm their electronic tickets. Essential and urgent communication has come to a standstill. BSNL is not responding to public calls to throw light on the situation, and the Divisional and District authorities, when contacted, are unable to clarify ensuing confusion.

We understand that at times for security reasons the Government does take certain actions that might cause some inconvenience to the people. But there has to be reasonable relaxation in imposing restrictions so that essential services are not disrupted. The Government could have opted for selective but not blanket ban. Basic and essential services should have been exempted from the blanket ban. By and large, media has not taken this blanket ban without demur. In the past, we have had such occasions when essential services like the telecommunication and internet had to be suspended temporarily. But blanket ban is something that we have not experienced so far. Even on previous occasions, essential services were left out of the ban. It appears that the Government has taken a decision in abnormal haste and as such has caused serious disruption in essential services which is regrettable.

A deliberate attempt of withholding information from the people is violation of the law. Devising such means as deny people access to law, too, is violation of the Act. We would have appreciated if the authorities had not underestimated this aspect of their action of imposing blanket ban on internet.






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