The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, today said the media in Union territory is “absolutely free” – a matter on which questions have been raised at both national and international level.
“According to an international organisation’s report, seven journalists in Kashmir were arrested on charges of terrorism and disturbing social harmony, not for their reporting. This number is 10 to 20 times more anywhere in the world,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Raj Bhavan.
The media in Jammu and Kashmir is free and active, he said. “More than 400 newspapers are published here,” he said.
Since 2019, Jammu and Kashmir has undergone a lot of transformation, he added.
That year, the decades-old special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the constitution was removed and the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories.
“Today’s J&K is not a land of hartals or stone pelters. It is a land of peace and prosperity, which the responsible and responsive administration is trying hard to bring into the lives of the people. J&K is governed by the Constitution of India, which has laid down the rule of law, established the supremacy of the government and the people,” Mr Sinha said.
This is the first time a huge international event is being held in Srinagar. The city is almost open barring few traffic restrictions on the Boulevard Road which leads to SKICC, the venue of the G20 meet.
Earlier today, the Lieutenant Governor attended the third working group meeting of G20 on tourism and did not mince words while attacking Pakistan for its stand on G20.
“I think our neighbouring country should make arrangements for food and basic amenities for its people. We have come a long way from there. G20 is a matter of pride for us,” Mr Sinha told reporters.
Delegates from 27 countries are participating in the tourism working group.
“We wanted to take the delegates to Gulmarg. But due to some reason, we could not do so this time,” Mr Sinha said. Those who still want to go would be taken to the famous ski resort of North Kashmir, he added.
Mr Sinha also underscored that the success of the G20 meet proves that Jammu and Kashmir can host international events. “We are capable of hosting any international event. If there are any shortcomings, we have inherited them. We have picked up pace, but it will take time to fill the void of 70 years,” he said.