New Delhi: The Central government on Tuesday filed a counter-affidavit in a petition filed by Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin challenging the curb on media in Jammu and Kashmir in wake of the abrogation of its special status.
In the affidavit, the Centre contended that there are no restrictions on the movement of the media personnel in the region. "Regular press briefings and press releases are being organized to disseminate the information," it stated.
The government said that the restrictions were imposed on the internet, mobile and landline telephones so as to prevent the dissemination of "rumors, fake propaganda, and activities that could disturb public order and tranquillity".
They said that the attempt to engender the normalcy is being stalled by "separatist elements and militants". "There have been numerous threats to common citizens from terror outfits threatening them from resuming normal salubrious life in the Kashmir valley," the affidavit stated.
The health services are functioning normally, it said, adding that there is sufficient stock of essential and life-saving drugs and other medical requirements across the hospitals in the region.
Refuting this, advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing on the behalf of Bhasin, told the court that people are not being able to access the health care facilities in the region.
The top court also admitted an intervention application filed by Foundation for media professionals, through President Paranju Guha Thakurta and Indian Journalists Union, in the case.
On this, the court has asked Centre to file an affidavit and posted the matter for hearing on November 16.
Bhasin filed the petition after the government on August 5 scrapped the provision of the article, which took away the special rights enjoyed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The UTs will come into being on October 31.