Karnataka

‘Restore Internet in J&K without compromising national security’

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Former Army general Syed Ata Hasnain says it’s a potential risk the govt. has to take

With the situation in Jammu and Kashmir returning to normality — after the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave it special status — it is time for the Central government to take the potential risk of restoring the Internet connectivity in the region, said Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retd), who commanded Army Corps in Jammu and Kashmir.

Taking part in the panel discussion on “Kashmir: a peep into the future” at the last day of Mangaluru Literary Festival 2019 here on Saturday, Mr. Hasnain said Internet connectivity has now assumed the status of human rights because of its multiple usages. “Time has come to open the connectivity, without compromising on national security. The government of India has to take the potential risk,” he said.

Mr. Hasnain said he has been a witness to the disturbances in 2005, 2008 and 2016 in the Kashmir valley when mobile phones were used to mobilise people. With Jammu and Kashmir now being a Union territory, the Cabinet Committee on Security will have to take an overview of the security in the Kashmir valley and take a decision on restoring Internet connection.

Senior journalist M.D. Nalpath said the mistake was made earlier by bringing in Article 370, which is based on the two-nation theory. “Though we have same culture and DNA, an exception was made for Kashmir on the ground that it is a Muslim-majority State. We did a mistake earlier,” he said.

On the claim by Bharatiya Janata Party that forming the government in Jammu Kashmir with the PDP was in order to facilitate abrogation the provisions in Article 370, Mr. Nalpath said alliance of BJP with Ajit Pawar in Maharashtra was more serious than its alliance with the PDP. “Devendra Fadnavis gave lot of concessions to Ajit Pawar. He sat on the file seeking permission to prosecute Ajit Pawar who faced corruption charges,” he said.

Senior international journalist Waeli Awwad said India should ensure that terrorist forces that destroyed Syria and Afghanistan do not gain ground in India. “We (Syrians) have suffered. Do not allow them here. Build schools, provide jobs by opening industries and fight against these forces,” he said, while emphasising the need to bring Kashmiris to the mainstream.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor Anand Ranganthan moderated the discussion.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:13:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/restore-internet-in-jk-without-compromising-national-security/article30125370.ece

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