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Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin petitions SC against communications blackout

Kashmir Times' executive editor Anuradha Bhasin has petitioned the Supreme Court, seeking direction to the Centre and officials of Jammu & Kashmir, to immediately relax restrictions on internet, mobile, landline services in Kashmir and parts of Jammu. It also asks for restrictions on free movement of journalists and media persons to be relaxed. These restrictions have led to a "virtual blackout" and has disabled media, says the petition (accessed from LiveLaw). Internet, mobile, and landline services have been suspended in Kashmir since August 4, leaving Kashmir and parts of Jammu "completely isolated and cut off from communication". No formal orders were given, says the petition filed on August 10, and "the authority, under which such excessive and arbitrary action was ordered is still unknown to the Petitioner". The petitioner is represented by lawyers Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee, and was filed through Sumita Hazarika, advocate on record. The Union ministry of Home Affairs, State of Jammu & Kashmir, and the divisional commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir are all respondents in the petition. According to Bhasin, Kashmir Times is the largest circulated English daily in Jammu & Kashmir with a daily circulation of 3.5 lakh. The paper's Srinagar edition couldn't be distributed on August 5, and hasn't been printed since August 6, due to the complete and absolute restriction on all communications services. Panic, anxiety among Kashmir residents The restrictions — on telecom/internet, on movement, and information sharing — have led to panic and anxiety among residents of Kashmir, "at a time when…

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