The Union home ministry has cited “security scenario” to justify its refusal to share details about the suspension of telecom and internet services in Jammu and Kashmir. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has stated this in a letter to Lok Sabha General Secretary Snehlata Shrivastava on Wednesday (November 25).
“Considering the security scenario in UT of Jammu & Kashmir, disclosure of information relating to suspension of telecom services would be prejudicial to the safety or interest of the state,” the letter said, according to The Indian Express, besides pointing out that the matter is still pending in the Supreme Court.
The home secretary cited Rule 270 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha to assert that the government may refuse to share a document “on the ground that it would be prejudicial to the safety or interest of the state.”
On Wednesday, the ministry’s additional secretary Govind Mohan had appeared before the Standing Committee on Information Technology, which is headed by Congress’s Shashi Tharoor, and reportedly refused to share any details on internet suspension in J&K.
Bhalla also stated in his letter that the secretary in charge of the home department can issue direction for suspending telecom services.
Kashmir had been under severe communication curbs for months since August 5, 2019, when Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted the erstwhile state a special status, was scrapped and the erstwhile state was bifurcated into two union territories.