The internet shut down in Kashmir has been the longest ever in a democracy, but this Niti Aayog member thinks depriving people of their basic rights is not a big deal. VK Saraswat even said that people in Kashmir only watch “dirty films” on the internet.
ANI quoted Saraswat as saying, “What difference does it make if there’s no internet in Kashmir? What do you watch on internet there? What e-tailing is happening there? Besides watching dirty films, you do nothing there.”
Not just that, Saraswat also seems to be against protesting for your basic rights. “Why do politicians want to go to Kashmir? They want to re-create the protests happening on the roads of Delhi in Kashmir. They use social media to fuel protests,” he said.
Saraswat later backtracked on his remarks saying, “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.”
Saraswat seems to have forgotten that earlier this month the Supreme Court of India had said, in its verdict on the various petitions it received against the complete shut down of Jammu and Kashmir, that access to the internet was a fundamental right.
Huffpost India had reported how without access to the internet students were suffering the most. Fatima Rafiq had said the Modi government was making it excruciatingly hard for her to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. She had said while NEET aspirants everywhere else in India could apply for the entrance exam from the comfort of their own homes, and she asked why students in Kashmir end up being treated differently.
Shuaib Ahmad, a 20-year-old student who wanted to appear for the JEE, told The Wire, “It almost took me 25 days to submit the form as I was not able to access internet facilities.”