Threat pushes Kashmir cable TV off air

Cable television in restive Indian-administered Kashmir has gone off the air after four militant groups threatened to mount suicide attacks against the broadcasters.

    Newspapers on Friday published the warning by militant groups

    This past week, cable TV operators stopped beaming several entertainment and news channels after threats from an almost unknown group, Al-Medina Regiment, which demanded cable television companies should stop operations in the predominantly Muslim Vale of Kashmir.

    On Friday, newspapers carried a statement jointly issued by four militant groups, Al-Badr Mujahidin, Al-Medina Regiment, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Harkat-ul-Mujahidin, warning the cable operators against "obscene" broadcasts.

    "We've have decided to continue the ban on cable networks as it is through their operations that our youth go astray," the statement said.

    "After debating over the response from some pro-freedom leaders and a fellow armed outfits in which they had termed the step uncalled for, we have decided it is imperative to continue with the ban."

    The latest warnings follow an uproar over an alleged Kashmir prostitution ring whose clients included politicians and businessmen.

    A week of popular protests has demanded that police should make public the names of clients and prostitutes.

    Militants have banned cable channels several times since 2000, but broadcasts have always returned after operators pledged they would not show "obscenity" - deemed to be scenes of kissing and fondling, and women wearing low-cut dresses or short skirts.

    Later on Friday, another Kashmir militant group, Hizb al-Mujahidin, termed the ban "unwarranted".

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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