NITI Aayog member V.K. Saraswat’s reported remarks that internet services in Kashmir were only used to watch “dirty films”, evoked sharp reaction on Sunday with Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), an apex trade body, demanding his immediate removal.

“We condemn these remarks. They are spreading venom against the people of Kashmir. Nobody gives him the right to speak like this about the people of Jammu and Kashmir and utter this nonsense against us,” KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq told DH.

He said that considering the resent state of the economy not only in Kashmir but all over the country, “it would perhaps have been better if Mr Saraswat would have chosen to maintain his silence.”

“The statement is not only unbecoming but also maligns the population of Kashmir. The losses caused to our economy is a matter of records and can’t be swept under the carpet by the issuance of absurd and factually incorrect statements,” the KCCI president asserted.

He said the business sector here has amounted to over Rs 18,000 crore losses in the past nearly six months and economy has been deeply affected by the suspension of internet services.

The KCCI demanded the removal of Saraswat as a member of the NITI Aayog for his “irresponsible conduct.”

Firdous Tak, a leader of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and a former legislator while mocking Saraswat’s statement, said, “This is the best justification so far. Residents of Jammu and Kashmir are pornography addicts which compelled Modi Ji to shut the internet. When you place (RSS) shakha products to form economic policies – hell happens.”

Arjimand Hussain Talib, a Kashmiri development practitioner termed Saraswat’s words as “filth.”

“Filthy words from the filthy mind of NITI Aayog member and JNU Chancellor, V K Saraswat, spoken at a university speech yesterday! (sic),” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual convocation at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, on Saturday, Saraswat had reportedly said, “What difference does it make if there’s no internet there? What do you watch on the internet there? What e-tailing is happening there? Besides watching dirty films, you do nothing there.”

However, later while apologizing for his “dirty films” remark, Saraswat said that he was quoted out of context. He also said that he was not against the rights of the Kashmiris to have internet access.

 

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