Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said that being unable to talk to anyone and not having any modes of communication were the worst kinds of punishment for people, PTI reported.

“This is the power and need of communication...when people store everything in their hearts and are unable to tell anyone about it, is the biggest punishment,” Javadekar said at the National Awards for Community Radio. “When you cannot talk to anyone, you cannot contact anyone and you have no tool to communicate, that is the biggest punishment.”

Javadekar’s comments came even as severe restrictions, including a communication blockade, has been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, when the Union government scrapped special status for the state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

On Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had claimed phone and internet services were mostly used by terrorists and Pakistanis for mobilisation and indoctrination, and less by the people of the state. “It is a kind of weapon used against us so we have stopped it. Services will be resumed gradually,” he had said. Last week, Malik defended the Centre’s move and said: “If there’s no telephone for 10 days, so be it”. He had said the lack of communication lines is a better option than loss of lives.

Javadekar on Wednesday appreciated the Narendra Modi-led administration’s decision to repeal Article 370 at the event and released a booklet on 75 days of the Bharatiya Janata Party government, titled “Jan Connect”.

“We did a lot of work,” Javadekar said. “In Kashmir, people did not get the right of development like the rest of the country. So that they get this right of development, Article 370 happened. It is a historic decision. The development that Jammu and Kashmir did not have, it will get it now.”

“The people didn’t get reservation, they will get it now, they didn’t have right to education, they will get it now, they were being left out of government schemes that are doing well, they will get its benefits now,” he said, adding that Jammu and Kashmir will now grow at a higher rate than the rest of the country.

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