India takes Pakistan TV channels off air in Kashmir

Indian authorities have blocked cable TV operators from broadcasting four Pakistani television channels in Kashmir, a move described as "cultural aggression" by New Delhi.

India takes Pakistan TV channels off air in Kashmir

Pakistani television channels are very popular in Muslim-majority Kashmir and cable TV provides the main form of entertainment for people in the troubled region.

More than 50 channels, including three Islamic ones, are usually available, showing news, films and other entertainment in Hindi and English. Some channels also broadcast in the Kashmiri language.

"After receiving orders from the administration, we immediately blocked all four (PTV, ARY, Aaj and Geo TV) channels," Irfan Ahamad, a leading cable TV operator said in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir.

Officials said the cable operators did not have the necessary government clearance to broadcast the channels.

"It is another indication of naked aggression by Indian authorities," read a statement from Kashmir's leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chief cleric and chairman of Kashmir's main alliance, All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom Conference), termed the ban on Pakistani TV channels as "cultural aggression" by Indian authorities.

"Kashmir has religious and cultural links with Pakistan and it is unethical to ban Pakistani TV channels," local newspapers quoted Farooq as saying.

More than 43,000 people have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir, Muslim majority state, since 1989.

Human rights groups put the toll at about 60,000 dead or missing, but the level of violence has fallen since India and Pakistan, which claim Kashmir in full but rule it in parts, began a peace process in 2004.

On Wednesday, Indian security forces shot dead three senior members of Kashmir's main group, Hizbul Mujahideen, in separate shootouts, police said.

Reuters

Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2008, 17:49
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