Internet suspension averted terrorism in J&K: Jitendra

Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh. PTI Photo

Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Tuesday said the suspension of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir has helped in averting some major terror incidents in the last two months.

Singh also said those who are opposing the curb on the internet either have a vested interest in the continuance of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir or they want to play politics at the cost of India's sovereignty and common man's safety.

Speaking at separate meetings of the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee, known as 'Disha', in Doda and Kishtwar districts, Singh said the elimination of several terrorists in Kishtwar was possible because of the suspension of the internet.

The suspension has also helped in flushing out terrorists operating in Kishtwar and other parts of the Chenab region, the Union minister for the PMO said.

He said certain political activists in the Kashmir valley have been continuously raising a hue and cry over the suspension of the internet because they are the "beneficiaries of terrorism" and their politics has, over the last three decades, "survived due to dismal voter turn-out under the fear of militancy".

"But more pathetic is the case of the fringe elements in Jammu region who have fallen in the trap of this pro-terror jargon and are trying to denounce the suspension of internet," he said.

Singh said these political activists are devoid of issues and are therefore desperate to make an issue even if it is at the cost of common man's life.

He said some of these fringe leaders, who otherwise proclaim themselves to be nationalists or patriots or self-styled guardians of Jammu, are actually issuing thoughtless statements which are music for Pakistan and also an endorsement as well as support for those who have been executing terror attacks in Jammu region.

The minister pointed out to the recent nabbing of the terrorists who were travelling from Lakhanpur towards Jammu and said they could be intercepted due to the ban on the internet.

Similarly, he said, the other day, some terrorists being chased out of Kishtwar by security forces, barged into the house of a local citizen in Batote but were liquidated because they were devoid of the internet connection to be guided by their cohorts.

At the same time, Singh said, a number of infiltration bids from the border could be foiled because a stray infiltrator, who did manage to cross over to this side could not be helped by his associates to carry out further movement as had been the practice earlier by using the internet, Whatsapp and similar means.

Singh said some critics tend to look at the restrictions "through the prism of abrogated Article 370".

He called upon the "learned" journalists to do a thorough scanning of the past 30 years of militancy and find out on how many occasions the internet was suspended.

At times, it was suspended for an equal or even longer period, when Article 370 was very much in place, he said and asked media to draw comparisons between the pace of development activity during those periods of internet suspensions and the present period.

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