Blackout: On Kashmir lockdown

Blackout: On Kashmir lockdown

Dissent does not have to invite measures aimed at throttling information flow
Jammu and Kashmir remains entirely(पूरी तरह से) cut off, ironically(विडम्बना से), as part of the efforts at effecting(प्रभावशाली ) its “complete integration(एकीकरण ) ” with the rest of the country. Rightly or wrongly, the BJP government at the Centre in its wisdom(बुद्धिमत्ता) thought that annulling the special status accorded to J&K in the Constitution(संविधान) and demoting(तोड़फोड़ ) and dividing(विभाजन) it into two Union Territories(प्रदेशों) were essential(आवश्यक/अनिवार्य ) steps towards national integration. Information flow to and from J&K has been restricted to almost nil(शून्य), and media platforms reported on the momentous(सब से महत्वपूर्ण/प्रभावशाली)  changes abruptly(अचानक ) announced by the Centre without any independent account of the situation (स्थिति)on the ground. That the world’s largest democracy could clampdown on information to the public in such a cavalier(स्वाभाविक/अभिमानपूर्ण) manner may appear incomprehensible(समझ से बाहर) under ordinary circumstances(परिस्थितियों।). But then, muzzling voices (अजीब सी आवाजें)from J&K was only a corollary(परिणाम) to a far more consequential(परिणामी ) directing(निर्देशन) of discourse(बातचीत). People in J&K even missed the Prime Minister’s tweet on how the new scheme of things would be helpful for them, as they were, and continue to be, “snapped off(बंद कर दिया) the Internet. Reporting from conflict(संघर्ष) zones is not new to Indian media. Journalists have covered riots(दंगों ), insurgencies(विद्रोह) and wars for decades in the country, and governments have allowed them to do so. By and large, state agencies have even enabled reporting from conflict zones and sites of natural disasters(आपदा) with curfew passes and special communication(संचार) facilities(सुविधाएं), though there have been exceptions(आपत्ति/अपवाद). Accurate information is always the best counter to misinformation and treacherous(विश्वासघाती ) rumours(अफवाहें).

Information coming out of the State is sparse(अपर्याप्त/विरल), costly and hard to gather. The announcement on the withdrawal of the special status of J&K was preceded(पहले) by a flurry(हड़बड़ी) of reporting sourced to government officials that terror threats were the reason for additional (अतिरिक्त )troop deployment. The Amarnath yatra was discontinued and the Valley (घाटी)was emptied(खाली कर दी) of tourists owing to these threats(खतरा/धमकी). Quite likely, irrespective(निरपेक्ष) of the nature of the threat alerts, these measures(उपायों ) were linked to the Centre’s decision(फैसला) on removal of the special status. Even before the clampdown on communication facilities, the government had been tight-fisted with information. The same attitude(रवैया ) was evident(स्पष्ट) subsequent (आगामी/बाद का)to other critical(महत्वपूर्ण) decisions it made in recent years: official communication with the public has been strictly(सख्ती से) a one-way process, through press releases, radio monologues(स्वगत भाषण/लंबी-चौड़ी बातें बढ़ाना), and social media posts. Parliament, which ended a highly productive(उत्पादक ) session in terms of business transacted(लेन-देन,), has been reduced(कम किया हुआ) to endorsing(समर्थन) executive(कार्यकारी) decisions with little meaningful discussions(चर्चाएँ). While these are concerns that the government must address at the earliest, it must start with the immediate(तुरंत) removal of all restrictions on movement of people and communication in J&K. Only security concerns(चिंताओं/मामला) under exceptional(अपवादी ) circumstances(परिस्थितियां), and not aversion to democratic(लोकतांत्रिक) dissent(असंतोष) in the normal course, can justify choking the information flow.

Important Vocabulary

1. Ironically(विडम्बना से
Synonyms: amusingly, jokingly, absurdly, facetiously, jocosely

2. Cavalier(स्वाभाविक/अभिमानपूर्ण)
Synonyms: condescending, curt, haughty, offhand, superior
Antonyms: humble, reticent, shy

3. Integration(एकीकरण )
Synonyms: assimilation, alliance,, amalgamation, combination, mixture
Antonyms: disunion, division, divorce, separation

4. Demoting(तोड़फोड़ )
Synonyms: bump, dismiss, relegate, bench, break
Antonyms: hold, keep, elevate, fix, increase

5. Insurgencies(विद्रोह)
Synonyms: dissent insurrection, mutiny, revolt, revolution
Antonyms: calm, obedience, peace, orthodoxy, submission

6. Disasters(आपदा)
Synonyms: calamity, catastrophe, collapse, crash, debacle
Antonyms: achievement, advantage, attainment, benefit, blessing

7. Abruptly(अचानक )
Synonyms: all of a sudden, precipitously, suddenly, unexpectedly

Synonyms: acumen, caution, experience, foresight, intelligence
Antonyms: ignorance, imprudence, inability, ineptness, stupidity

9. Rumors(अफवाहें).
Synonyms: comment, fabrication, falsehood, gossip, hearsay
Antonyms: evidence, proof, quiet, silence, truth

10. Treacherous(विश्वासघाती
Synonyms: slippery, tricky, unreliable, betraying, catchy
Antonyms: honest, reliable, forthright, harmless, loyal

11. Flurry(हड़बड़ी)
Synonyms: furor, outbreak, spurt, squall, turmoil
Antonyms: calm, peace, calmness, delay, order

12. Sparse(अपर्याप्त/विरल),
Synonyms: inadequate, infrequent,, meager, scant, scanty
Antonyms: abundant, adequate, enough, fat, frequent

13. Evident(स्पष्ट)
Synonyms: conspicuous, indisputable, noticeable, obvious, palpable
Antonyms: concealed, doubtful, dubious, hidden, inconspicuous

14. Strictly(सख्ती से
Synonyms: closely, rigorously, stringently, factually, surely

15. Critical(महत्वपूर्ण
Synonyms: demanding, analytical, belittling, biting, calumniatory
Antonyms: complimentary, laudatory, praising, trivial, uncritical

16. Endorsing(समर्थन)
Synonyms: advocate, affirm, approve, back, commend
Antonyms: attack, censure, criticize, deny, disagree

17. Monologues(स्वगत भाषण/लंबी-चौड़ी बातें बढ़ाना)
Synonyms: discourse, harangue, lecture, sermon, soliloquy
Antonyms: quiet, silence, dialogue.


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