Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday that the “biggest punishment” for people is not having means of communication and not being able to talk to anyone.
“What is the biggest punishment? When people are not able to contact any one, when they are not able to talk to anyone and when you do not have any tool to communicate...this is the biggest punishment,” he said. He was speaking at the National Awards for Community Radio. Community radio, he said, is the biggest tool of communication today.
His comments come against the backdrop of the ongoing communication blockade in Kashmir, where Internet and mobile services have been suspended for the last 22 days.
Mr. Javadekar also launched a booklet titled ‘Jan Connect’ on the first 75 days of the Narendra Modi government’s second term. Launching the booklet, he applauded the nullification of Article 370 revoking special Constitutional status for Jammu & Kashmir. “The people of Kashmir used to not get the same right to development as the rest of the nation. With the historic decision on Article 370, Kashmir will get the development that they did not get till now. They will get reservations, Right to Education and all the policies that rest of the nation has benefited from,” he said. All the laws that are applicable to the rest of the country will be applicable there, too. “Now, they will grow at a higher rate than the rest of the country,” Mr. Javadekar said
The Minister gave away awards in five community radio categories for the years 2018 and 2019.
‘Getting many calls’
Speaking at the sidelines of the event, the founder of Radio Sharada, a Jammu-based community radio service targeted largely at Kashmiri Pandits and other displaced people of Kashmir, Ramesh Hangloo said that he had been getting many calls from children who are living outside Jammu and Kashmir trying to contact their parents in the valley, where communication lines are down.
“We keep getting such calls. Even during the floods in Kashmir, many children living abroad had called, seeking help to connect with their parents since communication facilities were suspended. Today, too, we are getting hundreds of such calls. We convey their messages to the local police, who then in turn convey it to the parents of the callers,” he said.