SRINAGAR: Who had issued orders in Jammu and Kashmir to suspend mobile telephony and block internet services in the 2016 anti-India uprising? The state home department and the divisional commissioner Kashmir, the two important government bodies that have a say in deciding such moves, have distanced themselves from the order, reveals an RTI.
The divisional commissioner Kashmir, in response to an RTI filed by human rights defender Khurram Parvez, has said that “no such order was issued by this office regarding shut down of phones, Internet, Mobile Phones, Mobile Internet and Landline phone (when they) were shut down from July 09, 2016.”
Khurram in his application addressed to the home department had sought a copy of the order of banning tele-services from July 9, 2016, the day popular rebel leader Burhan Wani’s killing triggered a massive uprising in the Valley. Nearly 100 civilians were killed and 12,000 injured by government forces while quelling the uprising. For months the government had suspended tele-services at a stretch.
In its response, the home department said that the information sought pertains “to your (Div Com) department, therefore the application is forwarded to you… to kindly provide the requisite information to the applicant.” The Div Com office then said that no such order was issued by its office, and, “the RTI application is transferred back to you.”
If none of the two departments issued the order, who did? Principal Secretary Home RK Goyal told Kashmir Reader that “it is difficult for him to recall who issued such orders. Have to check it from records.”
The Inspector general of Police at that time, SJM Gilani, told Kashmir Reader to ask the current Kashmir police chief about who passed the orders.
In the past one year, the government suspended internet 10 times in the Valley.