NEW DELHI: Justifying the reasons for curbing internet in Kashmir, the Centre, represented through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, told the Supreme Court that political leaders in Kashmir instigated an uprising propagating anti-India sentiments through several public speeches.
In August, the central government had scrapped Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two UTs — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Following this, phone lines and the internet were blocked in the region. Citing former Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti’s speech, Mehta said, “India will become an occupational force like Israel in the case of Palestine.”
Mehta told the bench, headed by Justice N V Ramana, that opposition leaders referred to local militants as sons of the soil.
In one of the provocative speeches, Mehta said the leaders, citing the special status of Kashmir, warned not to play with fire, else it will burn you.
He also drew bench’s attention that official Twitter handles of the Pakistan Army were being used to instigate anti-India sentiments in the Valley.
“The spread of Jihad nowadays takes place on the Internet. Unfortunately, Internet Jihadi is a successful one. It is a global phenomenon...” Mehta told the court.
“Blocking Internet is justified to prevent such terror acts on the dark web. WhatsApp, Telegram and other apps can be used to spread messages. (Tackling them) becomes an endless job. The purpose of the government to stop law and order problems gets defeated,” he added.
Justifying the permission to publish newspapers from the Valley while keeping restrictions on Internet access intact, the solicitor general said newspapers are different from the Internet as they are one-sided communication.
To a question on whether the people in J&K access Internet and if yes from when, Mehta said, “Since August 7, they can visit Internet centres after getting passes.”