NEW DELHI – Supporting indefinite internet suspension in Jammu and Kashmir, NITI Aayog member and JNU chancellor VK Saraswat, on January 18, said it did not have a “significant effect” on the economy because it was used to only watch “gandi filmein (dirty films)”.
Saraswat was at an event, responding to a question on why internet services had been suspended in J&K if he thought telecom was the key to the country’s growth.
The Indian Express quoted Saraswat as saying: “Yeh jitne politicians wahan jaana chahate hai, woh kisliye jana chahate hai? Woh jaise andolan Delhi ki sadko pe ho raha hai, woh Kashmir mein sadko par lana chahte hai. Aur jo social media hai, woh usko aag ki tarah istamal karta hai. Toh aapko wahan internet na ho toh kya antar padhta hai? Aur waise bhi aap internet mein wahan kya dekhte hai? Kya e-tailing ho raha hai wahan pe? Wahan gaandi filme dekhne ke alaawa kuch nahi karte aap log (Why do politicians want to go to there (Kashmir)? They want to re-create the protests happening on the roads of Delhi in Kashmir. And they use social media to fuel these protests. So what difference does it make if there is no internet there? What do you watch on internet there? What e-tailing is happening there? Besides watching dirty films, you do nothing there).”
Clarifying his statement, Saraswat added: “Main yeh baat bata raha hoon ki internet Kashmir mein agar nahin hai, toh uss se economy pe kuch khaas antar nahi padta (What I am saying is if there is no internet in Kashmir, then it does not have a significant effect on the economy).”
“Internet is down in Kashmir, but is not internet available in Gujarat? The reason for shutting down the internet in Kashmir is different. If Article 370 had to be removed, and if Kashmir had to be taken forward, we know there are elements there which will misuse this kind of information in a manner that will affect the law and order situation,” the newspaper report also quotes Saraswat as saying. Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
However, Saraswat later told news agency ANI: “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.”