Saturday, April 24, 2010

Islamic channels banned in Jammu

Jammu, April 24: The Muslim fraternity of Jammu has condemned the move by Jammu district administration to stop the telecast of 12 Pakistan and Dubai based channels in the winter capital. They have decided to launch an agitation against what they termed as “interference in religious affairs” by the authorities. The telecast of the channels was stopped citing “anti-India propaganda.” On Friday, District Magistrate, Jammu, Manoj Kumar Dwivedi vide notification No. DMJ/Misc/10-11/579-86 dated 23-4-2010has issued notices to multi-system operators/cable operators of Jammu district to immediately stop telecast of 12 channels, including Peace TV (Dubai), QTV, ARY, PTV Home, PTV World, Geo TV, Dawn, Express, Waqat, Noor TV, Hadi TV and Aaj. “I issued the notice as per the directions of Ministry of Broadcasting, Government of India. Infact, MoB has directed all the district magistrates of the state, rather country, to stop the 12 channels from being telecasted,” Dwivedi told Rising Kashmir. “As per MoB, these 12 channels are not registered with them, hence are illegal.”

Following the orders from the district magistrate, the cable operators have stopped telecasting the 12 channels from Jammu. The move has evoked resentment among the Muslim community, who view it as discrimination with the minority community. “If the channels were really indulging in anti-India propaganda, the administration instead of stopping the channels out-rightly should have first issued a warning to the cable operators to set the things right. I cannot bet on other channels, but how come Peace TV and Quran TV are indulging in anti-India propaganda,” said Prof Zahoor-u-Din, chairman of Muslim Coordination Committee.

President of Muslim Federation Jammu, Abdul Majeed, expressed surprise over the move and said it will send a wrong signal in the Muslims of the winter capital. “It is very sad that the authorities have taken such a step. I don’t think any propaganda was being telecasted through these channels. We will take the matter with the administration to exempt the channels from the ban,” he said. Terming the ban on the channels as mere interference in the religious affairs of Muslims, Shia Federation Jammu and Anjumani Imamia have decided to launch a protest demonstration against it. “When these channels are running in other states of the country, why to ban in Jammu? This is totally wrong and a direct interference in our religious affairs,” said Aashiq Hussain Khan, president Shia Federation Jammu.

“We will raise our voice against it and will come on roads. If they stop Peace TV and QTV, then they should ban Baba Ram Dev Channel, Babu Aasa Ram’s Channel, Sahab Bandigi and Jain TV,” said general secretary of Anjumani Imamia, Syed Fida Hussain. Secretary of JK Media Network Managing Director, Subash Choudhary told Rising Kashmir they have stopped telecast of all these channels. "We will abide by the law of the land,” Choudhary’s secretary said. Iftikhar Hussain, a student of Jammu University, said that a similar drama was created last year too. “They want to suppress Muslim community of Jammu. Recently, RSS Chief Praveen Tagodia came and delivered hate speeches all over the Hindu belt of Jammu region. At that time it was not a national threat for them, but watching of QTV and Peace TV is a national threat,” he said.

The move has even surprised the government. Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ali Muhammad Sagar termed the ban of 12 channels by district magistrate Jammu as “unwarranted and undemocratic”. “I myself watch these channels, particularly Peace TV, QTV and other Quranic channels; I do not find anything wrong in them. As a Muslim I feel sorry for this. Now government will look into the matter and will do the necessary,” he said. Sagar expressed ignorance that any direction was issued by Ministry of Broadcasting, GoI. Finance Minister, Abdur Rahim Rather, too condemned the move. “It is uncalled for. I will look into it,” he said.

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