SEN Operators Bid Self-Immolation

SRINAGAR: Owners and workers of a local cable network on Tuesday made a bid to set themselves ablaze here to protest the sealing of their office by authorities yesterday.

Staffers of the Site Entertainment Network (SEN) drenched themselves with petrol and kerosene when the police barred them from marching out of the press enclave here.

The demonstrators were chanting slogans against Devinder Rana – the chief minister’s former advisor – and Subhash Chaudhary who exert a monopoly on the lucrative cable TV business.

The protestors alleged that the SEN office had been sealed at the behest of Rana and Chaudhary, whom they accused of using political pressure on the district administration.

“We wish to work independently, without interference from the mafia in Jammu,” the protestors said.

Rana, now the National Conference president for the Jammu province, owns the Take One TV Network, and Chaudhary the JK Channel, they said, adding that the duo was trying to clobber Kashmir-based networks into submission.

The SEN office had been sealed on the pretext that it was airing unauthorised channels, disrupting services in many parts of Srinagar, Gandarbal and Budgam districts.

“But we have proper documents, and are authorised to beam the channels,” Riyaz Ahmad, a SEN operator, said.    

“Later, when we showed our documents to the deputy commissioner in Srinagar, he was convinced, but the additional deputy commissioner (ADC) inexplicably refused to allow us to open our office,” another operator, Riyaz Ahmad, said.

“The ADC told us that Kashmiris should starve,” he said.

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