According to India’s Wire news website, Vikram Sahay, the joint secretary-level official in the ministry arrived capital Srinagar and held a two-hour-long meeting with a group of cable operators.
The Wire has reported that Sahay asked the operators not to air channels from Muslim countries, such as Iran, Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.
“The official told us, in categorical terms, that all the channels from Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, and Pakistan should be blocked,” said an operator who attended the meeting.
According to the operator, the ministry official read out the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995 to the operators and asked them to adhere to it strictly.
The controversial move came after large parts of the Muslim-majority territory was placed under lockdown, with mobile networks, internet services, and telephone landline services being cut.
Sahay, who is the joint secretary in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, told the operators that they are violating the law by airing channels from ‘Muslims’ countries, especially Iran, Turkey and Malaysia.
Sahay was told that while no channel from Malaysia was being aired in the Valley, Sehar TV, a religious channel of Iran, was being aired as it is watched by the Shia community.
The operators also told the official that Al-Arabiya channel-run by Saudi Arabia was also being aired. He official said that both, Al-Arabiya and Sehar TV shouldn’t be aired in the region.
In the meeting, the official also sought information from the operators about the most popular TV shows in Kashmir.
Kashmir Valley is under communication blockade since August 5, when the government snapped phone, internet connections across Jammu and Kashmir ahead of revoking Article 370 from the state and splitting the state into two union territories.