SRINAGAR:The PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday lifted a nearly three-month-long ban on Srinagar-based English newspaper Kashmir Reader. The newspaper is set to hit the stands on Wednesday.
The Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), a body of Kashmir newspaper editors, on Tuesday met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti at her residence in Srinagar. During the meeting, the editors raised the issue of the ban on Kashmir Reader.
On October 2, the government banned the publication of the newspaper, saying ‘its publication could incite violence and disturb peace and tranquility’.
“During the meeting with KEG, Mehbooba told the editors to undertake responsible journalism. As far as reporting or views is concerned, you have all the freedom, but you should check the veracity of the news,” sources privy to the meeting quoted the CM as saying.
They quoted Mehbooba as saying that she hoped to read the Kashmir Reader on Wednesday morning.
The newspaper this evening received formal orders from the government to resume publication.
“We are resuming publication and the newspaper will hit the stands on Wednesday morning,” Kashmir Reader editor Hilal Mir told Express.
He added, “It’s like we have been released from jail.” “The government has finally done a favour to itself by lifting the ban on the newspaper because they had done wrong by imposing the ban,” said Mir.
In its order banning publication of the newspaper, the district magistrate of Srinagar had said, “It has been observed that the contents published in the newspaper (Kashmir Reader) are of such nature that can easily cause incitement of acts of violence and disturbance of public tranquility in the State and Srinagar in particular.”
“The further printing and publication of the newspaper can disrupt public tranquility in the State, especially in Srinagar district. It has become expedient in the interest of prevention of this anticipated breach of public tranquility to forthwith take necessary precautionary measures, including stopping printing and publishing of the newspaper through printing presses,” the order read.
The government banned the newspaper at a time when Kashmir was witnessing unrest following the killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8. At least 94 people have been killed during the five-month-long unrest and over 13,000 injured.
More than 8,000 people, including separatist leaders, youth and government employees, were arrested by the police in the last five months. The newspaper extensively covered the street protests.