| New Delhi |
Updated: November 26, 2020 6:58:25 am
Citing “the security scenario”, the Ministry of Home Affairs has informed Lok Sabha that it will not be able to disclose information relating to suspension of telecom and Internet services in Jammu & Kashmir.
In a letter Wednesday to Lok Sabha Secretary General Snehlata Shrivastava, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said, “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”.
He also pointed out that “the matter related to shutdown of Internet in J&K… is also sub-judice” in the Supreme Court.
Citing Rule 270 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, he said the “Government may decline to produce a document on the ground that its disclosure would be prejudicial to the safety or interest of the state”.
The Standing Committee on Information Technology, headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, had sought the presence of MHA representatives for a briefing Wednesday on ‘Suspension of Telecom Services/Internet and its Impact’.
Although Additional Secretary Govind Mohan appeared before the panel, sources said he declined to provide details on the Internet shutdown. When he was asked about the communication blockade in other states, the official, it is learned, said law and order is a state subject.
In his letter, Bhalla pointed out that the Union Home Secretary or the Secretary in charge of the Home Department can issue direction for suspension of telecom services. “It has been verified from the Lok Sabha Secretariat that the Committee proposes to discuss mainly the suspension of telecom services in J&K… The MHA has already stated its position on the issue and issues related to the subject before the Committee in its last meeting dated 16th October, 2020 and has nothing…