New Delhi, Jan 10 : The Supreme Court on Friday noted that the “geopolitical struggle cannot be played down or ignored” in Jammu & Kashmir.
A bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and R. Subhash Reddy observed that there is no doubt that Jammu & Kashmir has been a hotbed of terrorist insurgencies for many years.
“In this light, we may note the state’s submission that since 1990 to 2019 there has been 71,038 recorded incidents of terrorist violence, 14,038 civilians have died, 5,292 security personnel were martyred, 22,536 terrorists were killed,” said the court stating the geopolitical struggle cannot be played down or ignored.
The court observed that while the mountains of Himalayas spell tranquillity, yet blood is shed every day.
“In this land of inherent contradictions, these petitions (challenging the restrictions) add to the list, wherein two sides (petitioners and J&K administration) have shown two different pictures which are diametrically opposite and factually irreconcilable,” said the court.
The apex court observed that modern terrorism heavily relies on the internet, and the operations on the internet do not require substantial expenditure and are not traceable easily.
“The internet is being used to support fallacious proxy wars by raising money, recruiting and spreading propaganda/ideologies. The prevalence of the internet provides an easy inroad to young impressionable minds,” said the court.
The apex court also cited Susan W. Brenner, a Distinguished Professor of Law and Technology, University of Dayton School of Law, who opined the traditional approach has not worked satisfactorily on terrorism due to the proliferation of the internet.
The Solicitor General pointed out that the ‘war on terrorism’ requires imposition of such restrictions so as to nip the problem of terrorism in the bud. He submitted that in earlier times, sovereignty and integrity of a state was challenged only on occurrence of war.
The court observed the fight against terror cannot be equated to a law and order situation as well. “In this light, we observe that this confusion of characterising terrorism as a law and order situation has plagued the submission of the respondent government and we need to carefully consider such submissions,” observed the court on the government’s contentions.
However, the apex court said that there is ample merit in the contention of the government that internet could be used to propagate terrorism, which will eventually challenge the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at [email protected])