Kashmir TV Channels Suspended After Militant Threats
5 March 2007
Srinagar: Cable TV operators in Indian Kashmir suspended three English- language channels on Monday after Muslim militants threatened to attack broadcast installations to protest what they called obscene programmes. 'After threats from militants, we have decided to stop Star Movies, Star World and Sony Pic,' Mushtaq Ahmad, the owner of a leading cable company in Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital, said on Monday. Two militant groups Al-Badr and Al-Madina Regiment, which are battling Indian rule in Kashmir, called for the end to obscenity on cable television. The groups did not specify what programs they were criticising. Last year, cable operators in Muslim-majority Kashmir suspended operations after militant groups threatened to launch suicide attacks on their centres. The operators later resumed broadcasting. Cable TV provides the main form of entertainment for most people in Kashmir, where tens of thousands have died since a separatist revolt broke out over 17 years ago. About 50 channels, including three Islamic ones, are usually available, showing news, films and other entertainment in Hindi and English. Some channels also broadcast in the Kashmiri language. Militants closed cinemas, liquor shops, and beauty parlours in the Kashmir Valley immediately after a separatist revolt against India's rule broke out in 1989. A few alcohol shops, a cinema hall and dozens of beauty parlours have reopened in Srinagar and other parts of the region after violence started to decline in 2004.