Media Gag Unacceptable: Wajahat

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SRINAGAR: The chairperson of National Commission of Minorities (NCM) and ex Chief Information Commissioner of India, Wajahat Habibullah Thursday flayed state government for imposing gag on media and internet saying this was unacceptable in democracy.

“Free flow of information is essence of democracy and once you gag the internet and media on the pretext of law and order, it means you are stealing the liberty and freedom of people, which is not acceptable in a democratic set up,” Wajahat Habibullah told a local news agency, CNS.

Avoiding a direct response when asked about the hanging of Afzal Guru, Habibullah said he can’t say under what circumstances he was executed and what will be its repercussions. “I can’t comment on execution of Afzal Guru but I can tell that situation is very serious in Kashmir, where freedom and liberty of people are being crippled”.

Wajahat said he is surprised the way J&K government imposed a blanket ban on mass media in Valley. “You can’t gag media in a democracy. In this age of Information Technology, it is absurd to gag internet and not allowing people and youth in particular to make use of the internet facility when we know that internet has become the nerve centre and necessity of life”.

He lamented that even newspapers were not allowed to get published and newspaper copies were seized by the police. “It tells a sorry state of affairs in the State”.

He asked Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to lift the ban on internet and restore the freedom of people. “I hope gag on media will be lifted completely and people will be allowed to freely express their views and opinions,” he said.

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