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'Never Before Have Lives Of 7 Million People Been Paralyzed Like This' : Sibal On Kashmir Lockdown

Nilashish Chaudhary
6 Nov 2019 2:24 PM GMT
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Appearing for Congress Rajya Sabha MP from J&K Ghulam Nabi Azad, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal on Wednesday submitted in the Supreme Court that the lockdown in Kashmir has paralyzed the lives of 7 million people.

"Never before the lives of 7 million people have been paralyzed like this", Sibal told the bench comprising Justices Ramana, Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai.

"State can't tell me to go or not to go to J&K. State cannot violate my rights under Article 19 to say don't give a speech here or say stay inside your house", Sibal said.

The State must protect a citizen. Even if certain rights are restricted, the State must protect the citizen within the restrictions. Here the State is destroying those very rights which, as protector, it should protect.

"Under what law has the State decided to not allow me to receive information? And how does a person receiving normal news regarding lack of public transport to visit a hospital threaten the State's security? How does that information affect foreign ties?", he asked.

Terrorism cannot be used as an excuse to shutdown everything. Even if the government feels that there would be unrest, peaceful protests should be allowed to be carried out. There is no co-relation between the shutdown and claims of public order. 

In his petition before the top court, the former Chief Minister of J&K sought permission to check on social conditions in the state after the clampdown imposed by the authorities in the aftermath of revocation of provisions of Article 370. He had tried to visit the state after the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status but was sent back from the airport by authorities.

On September 16, a bench headed by CJI granted permission to Azad to visit J&K on condition that he should not indulge in 'political rally or political activity'.

Before hearing Azad's petition, the bench today heard Advocate Vrinda Grover in the petition filed by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, which challenged the internet shutdown and media blockade in the region.

The hearing of both these matters will continue tomorrow.

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