Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has directed the Kashmir cable operators to immediately shut the “banned private satellite channels” for the larger interests of “maintaining peace and tranquillity” in the valley.
The cable operators have called for a meeting on Thursday to chalk out future strategies since “people have already demanded to discontinue the services.”
According to an order issued by the additional district commissioner (ADC), Srinagar, dated July 12, 2018, sent to heads of cable operators in Srinagar, the cable operators have been accused of telecasting and transmitting unpermitted and banned private satellite channels within the jurisdiction of Srinagar district.
“J&K government, home department, vide Ps/home/2018-60 dated July 2, 2018, has reported that you are telecasting and transmitting unpermitted and banned private satellite channels within Srinagar,” reads the order issued by the ADC Srinagar to cable operators. “It has become necessary and expedient in the larger interest of public and maintenance of peace and tranquillity to prohibit (you) from transmitting non permitted TV channels (which are not permitted by the Union ministry of information and broadcasting).”
The order further reads that now, therefore, in exercise of powers conferred by section 19 of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 “you are hereby directed to immediately stop telecasting/transmitting non permitted TV channels/banned private satellite channels within three days.”
The cable operators have been asked to furnish the notarised affidavit before the ADC Srinagar. In case the cable operators fail to submit the affidavit, the order reads “action under the provision of CTN (regulation) act 1995 will be taken against you”.
Amjad Mir, Head of SEN Cable Network said hat they have received the copy of government order. “We have been asked to close almost 30 channels that include Geo, ARY, QTV, Saudi Quran, Saudi, Hadi, Karbala, Paigam, Peace TV Urdu, Haadi ,Noor, Sehar, Madani, Saudi Quran, Saudi Sunah, Paigam and others,” he said.
“Whenever Kashmir witnessed uprising, we were asked to shut the channels. This time, what is surprising is that situation is not that worse and yet we are told to close down the channels,” a cable operator based in Srinagar said, adding that he fails to understand how a religious channel like Saudi Quran can pose a threat to peace in Kashmir.
Another cable operator said that their offices in Srinagar have started getting lot of calls from the subscribers asking to remove the connections. “Almost ten thousand people are earning livelihood directly from the cable business in Kashmir. If situation remains same, we will be forced to cut the size of the staff,” he said, wishing not to be named.