India

Pakistani, Saudi channels broadcast calls for 'azadi' into Kashmiri homes

05 May 2017 | By Abheet Sethi

Over 50 Saudi and Pakistani channels which indulge in anti-India propaganda are running via private cable networks in Kashmir without required clearances.

The channels, which feature Saudi clerics, Pakistani news anchors, are stoking calls for 'azadi' into Kashmiris at a time when unrest prevails in the region.

Some of the PDP-BJP government offices even subscribe to these cable services, the Times of India reports.

In context: Pakistani, Saudi channels promote 'azadi'/fundamentalism in Kashmir

05 May 2017Pakistani, Saudi channels broadcast calls for 'azadi' into Kashmiri homes

PreferenceKashmiris prefer cable connections because of Saudi, Pakistani channels

Satellite TV providers such as Tata Sky, Dish TV etc. are available in Kashmir. However, most people still subscribe to private cable.

Srinagar alone has nearly 50,000 private cable connections all because they broadcast Saudi and Pakistani channels, said one cable operator, who didn't wish to be named.

Controversial cleric Zakir Naik's Peace TV, which preaches Salafist Islam and is banned, is also aired.

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ListList of channels Pakistani and Saudi Channels aired in Kashmir

Private cable operators broadcast Saudi and Pakistani channels such as like Saudi Sunnah, Saudi Quran, Al Arabia, Paigham, Hidayat, Noor, Madani, Sehar, Karbala, Hadi, Sehar, Ary QTV , Bethat, Ahlibat, Message, Falak, Geo News, Ary News, Dawn News and others.

Their broadcast into India hasn't been permitted by the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry.

I&B ministry calls Pakistani/Saudi channels broadcast illegal

"No cable operator, any where in the country, including in Jammu & Kashmir, can run any channel other than the ones approved by the Union I&B ministry," said director of broadcasting, I&B ministry, Amit Katoch. He said failure to do so makes the broadcast illegal.

DetailsSaudi channels promote fundamentalism, Pakistani news calls terrorists "martyrs"

Some of the Saudi channels air rigid, fundamentalist and patriarchal interpretations of Islam and Sharia law which is prevalent in Saudi Arabia.

Some Wahabi clerics often sermonize that women should submit to their husbands and always obey them.

Several Pakistani news channels label members of Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkare-Taiba and other groups as "martyrs" and call counter-insurgency operations "human rights violations."

Government said it has started looking into illegal broadcasts

"We have started the process to check how this is happening. Television is a problem here," a top government official in Kashmir said as he admitted the problems surrounding the "illegal" broadcasts.
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FundamentalismSaudi channels leading propagators of Salafist/Wahhabi ideology in Valley

Saudi channels are among the largest media source for the propagation of Salafist Islam in the Valley said Anantnag-based Islamic scholar Shahid.

"It is radicalising youth and adding fuel to the violent separatist movement that is being mobilised by invoking Islam," he added. "Wahhabism has stoked Islamist extremism and terrorism across the world."

Article 370 allows Pakistani/Saudi channels to be aired in J&K?

Amjad Noor, the owner of Site Entertainment Network (SEN), the biggest private cable network provider in Srinagar said airing Saudi and Pakistani channels was "legal" because Jammu & Kashmir has its "own constitution under Article 370 and a separate law, Ranbir Penal Code."