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Petition seeking revocation of ban on TV channels submitted before SHRC

Srinagar, July 24: A petition was Tuesday filed before the State Human Rights Commissioner (SHRC) here, seeking revocation of orders of ban on 30 TV channels here, saying that a large chunk of youth engaged by cable operators are bound to lose their job.

The petition was filed by Centre for Peace and Protection of Human Rights through its Chairman M.M.Shuja, son of Ab Rahman Mir of Hyderpora Srinagar.

In the petition, the petitioner stated that by the virtue of the ban order as many as 30 cable TV channels most of which are non political and purely Islamic channels telecasting religious content particularly “Quran” and “Sunnah” were banned and banning of transmission of these channels is, in the opinion of public at large, direct interference in the religion practicised by Muslims in Kashmir valley.

He said that it also apt to submit that Hajj-2018 is now approaching only a few days after and Hajj flights from Srinagar to Saudi Arabia have already started. “The pilgrims usually view Islamic channels round the clock to prepare themselves for effectively performing the Hajj and banning of these channels is bound to deprive them of the particulars involved in performing various duties and obligations connected with the Hajj,” the petitioner stated.

Shuja further said that apart from pilgrims, the public at large belonging to Muslim Community feel it very amazing to view Islamic channels during the sacred month of “ZILHAJJ” in particular and during other months in general to deprive the public at large from viewing various aspects of Islamic thought is bound to create discontent among the Muslim community. “These Islamic channels are viewed worldwide provide expertise for common Muslim to understand and then practice the same in their day to day life,” he added.

The petitioner in his petition further said that apart from Islamic channels it is surprisingly noted that a sports and music channel has also been banned under the order.

He added that banning of cable TV network to the extent of above channels is totally unconstitutional and also a direct violation of “Human Rights” in the present day world. On one hand the authorities are stressing on digital India and on the other hand banning of digital channels is contradictory. “By imposition of ban a large chunk of youth engaged by cable operators is bound to lose their job and the cable operator themselves are under the threat of losing sizeable percentage of viewership. All the banned channels cannot and should not be measured by single yard stick and the authorities should have examined the content on channel to channel based,” he said in a petition.

The petitioner further said that this Commission also may kindly appreciate that some national news channels are infact responsible for spreading communal and sectarian propaganda which can insight violence and develop hatred against many classes of the society. “The respondents should have acted proactively and banned such channels also. Non banning of such channels in pinpointing to a simple fact that the order issued by District Magistrate (Deputy Commissioner) Srinagar and Additional District Magistrate (Additional Deputy Commissioner) is arbitrary and in colorable exercise of power and thus liable to be withdrawn,” he said.

“In the premises it is respectfully prayed that the respondents be directed to recall the order quoted above and the cable operators be permitted to resume the transmission of Islamic channels as usual,” he said.