A day after he said that the internet in Jammu and Kashmir was used to watch “dirty films,” VK Saraswat, Niti Aayog member apologised and said that he was “quoted of out context.”
“During the conversation somebody talked about Kashmir and I said yes internet is required and I respect the feeling of all Kashmiris in this regard that they should be provided internet and agree with the fact that they should have the freedom,” he said.
Saraswat told PTI, “But sometimes governments have to take action for maintaining law and order and security to shut down the internet for sometime. Then the conversation was over and we were talking about many other things. And from many other things, they picked up all this nonsense. I have been misquoted, I have been quoted wrongly and out of context.”
He said that he was sorry if he has hurt the feelings of people of Kashmir or anybody for that matter.
Saraswat's initial remark had come while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual convocation at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology at Gujarat's Gandhinagar on Saturday.
"“Politicians use social media to fuel protests. What difference does it make if there’s no internet in Kashmir? What do you watch on Internet there? What e-tailing is happening? Besides watching dirty films, you do nothing.”" - VK Saraswat, Member, Niti Aayog to ANI
Saraswat was responding to a question on why Internet was suspended in J&K on the sidelines of the annual convocation at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Gandhinagar, reported Hindustan Times.
He also added that social media is used to “fuel protests.” He said, “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.”
In Jammu and Kashmir, Internet services were suspended along with mobile services following the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution on 5 August 2019.
Earlier, the Supreme Court had said that Internet cannot be suspended indefinitely and that access to internet is enshrined in the Constitution under the freedom of speech.
Nobody Gives NITI Aayog Right to Utter Nonsense: KCCI
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) – an apex trade body – condemned NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat's reported remarks and demanded his immediate removal. KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq told PTI.
"“We condemn these remarks. They are spreading venom against the people of Kashmir. Nobody gives him the right to speak like this about the people of Jammu and Kashmir and utter this nonsense against us.”" -
(With inputs from PTI)
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