At 5.53 am Thursday, the announcement “yeh akashwani ka Jammu kendra hai” marked a transition for Radio Kashmir Jammu and Radio Kashmir Srinagar.
The two radio stations, which had been established to counter anti-India propaganda by Pakistan on Kashmir, will now be known as AIR Jammu and AIR Srinagar, respectively.
Radio Kashmir Jammu was set up on December 1, 1947, by Maharaja Hari Singh, and Radio Kashmir Srinagar on July 1, 1948. The former was the first to come up in independent India, said official sources. Both these radio stations remained with the state government headed by Hari Singh until 1952, and later merged with All India Radio.
India’s first Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who held portfolios of Home and Information and Broadcasting, allowed both these radio stations to operate under their original nomenclature — Radio Kashmir Jammu and Radio Kashmir Srinagar — as this helped in countering Pakistani propaganda over the radio from Muzaffarabad opposite Kashmir valley and Tralkhad opposite Poonch. This was done to showcase that the “real J&K” was situated on the Indian side of the LoC, an official said.
Sunil Kumar Chaku, head of AIR Jammu, said the name was changed with effect from October 31 following a decision by Prasar Bharti. Everything else, including the programmes and working of the station, remain the same, he said.