Tharoor seeks answers from LS Speaker about impact of internet suspension in J&K
New Delhi: Congress leader and chairman of Parliamentary standing committee on Information and Technology Shashi Tharoor has written to Lok Sabha Speaker that the panel would like to be apprised of the impact of the suspension of internet services on Jammu and Kashmir, while examining evidence from central and state representatives on the issue, as the matter is no longer sub-judice.
However, as per the latest updated agenda of the parliamentary panel meeting on September 1, the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the topic related to the suspension of internet services has been dropped.
Tharoor had written to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on August 27 in response to his letter to parliamentary panel chairmen asking them to adhere to rules and avoid taking issues that were sub-judice, while the agenda of the panel’s meeting was updated on August 28.
In his letter to Birla, the Congress leader said, “We will examine oral evidence provided by a number of central and state government representatives on the subject of ‘Suspension of Telecom Services/ Internet and its impact’. Naturally, the Committee would like to be apprised of the impact of the aforementioned subject in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, given its importance and the widespread impact of existing suspensions on fellow citizens.”
On the question of suspension of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, this particular issue was previously being considered by the Supreme Court and “the Committee is happy to proceed with the knowledge that the issue is no longer sub-judice and there is no contravention with the convention on sub-judice matters”, he said.
Citing the rules, Tharoor further said if any part of the subject is sub-judice, the committee would de-hyphenate it and only examine the part that is not sub-judice.
However, Tharoor said at present, to the best of his knowledge and that of the Secretariat, there is no such subject before the committee.
Tharoor has been under attack from BJP members of the panel for taking up internet suspension in Jammu and Kashmir and calling up Facebook India executives, following a Wall Street Journal report that claimed that the social media giant refused to apply hate speech rules to certain ruling party politicians.
He reiterated in the letter that Facebook has been summoned for ‘discussion on safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms’. The subject was squarely within the committee’s mandate and the social media giant has been summoned in the past.