'Internet used to watch dirty films online,' Niti Aayog member justifies ban in Kashmir

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Journalists uses their mobile phone as government orders for the restoration of pre-paid mobile services and 2G internet services in 2 districts of the Kashmir valley after the six months of ban, at Government Media Facilitation Centre in Srinagar, Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. Photo: PTI Photo

Ahmedabad: NITI Aayog member V K Saraswat has said the shut down of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 did not have any significant impact on the economy, as people there did nothing other than watching "dirty films" online.

He also said that internet services were suspended in Jammu and Kashmir to prevent certain elements from "misusing" information that could affect law and order situation there.

Saraswat was speaking to reporters in Gandhinagar on Saturday after attending the convocation of the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology.

"What difference does it make if there's no internet there? What do you watch on internet there? What e-tailing is happening there? Besides watching dirty films, you do nothing there," he said.

"If there is no internet in Kashmir, it does not have any significant effect on the economy," he added.

Saraswat said the reason for suspending internet services in Jammu and Kashmir was to prevent certain elements from misusing information.

"If Article 370 had to be removed, and if Kashmir had to be taken forward, we knew there were elements there which will misuse this kind of information in a manner that will affect the law and order situation," he said.

On recent protests in Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Saraswat said the institution has become a "political battleground" with half of the teachers being "hardcore Leftists".

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He called for the issues there to be resolved "democratically".

Saraswat also said that protests like those against the Citizenship Amendment Act and in JNU affect the economy.

"The losses are affecting the economy. We are giving people money, but there is no output from them. Government teachers are getting their dues despite the strike. What is the output...all this affects the economy," he said.

Saraswat later apologised saying his quotes were taken out of context. "If this misquotation has hurt the feelings of the people of Kashmir, I apologise. I am not against the Kashmiris' right to have internet access,” said Saraswat,