Office of Kashmir Times sealed in Srinagar, editor calls it ‘vendetta’ for speaking out against New Delhi

According to the Kashmir Times management, the Srinagar office was sealed on Monday evening without serving any cancellation or eviction notice or following any due process of law.

Published: 21st October 2020 03:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st October 2020 08:41 AM   |  A+A-

CRPF personnel stand guard on a street during restrictions imposed in the wake of the first anniversary of Article 370 abrogation in Srinagar Wednesday

For representational purpose. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: The J&K authorities have sealed the office of Kashmir Times, one of the prominent and oldest English newspapers in Jammu and Kashmir, in Srinagar.  

Anuradha Bhasin, the executive editor of the daily, dubbed the government’s action as “vendetta for speaking out”.

“The Estates Deptt locked our office in Srinagar without any due process of cancellation & eviction, same way as I was evicted from a flat in Jammu, where my belongings including valuables were handed over to “new allottee”. Vendetta for speaking out! No due process followed. How peevish,” she tweeted.

Incidentally, the sealing comes a few weeks after Bhasin was evicted from a government flat at Jammu allotted to her in 2000.

Bhasin has been critical of the government’s policies after Article 370 revocation last year. She had challenged the internet ban in the Supreme Court.  

According to the Kashmir Times management, the Srinagar office was sealed on Monday evening without serving any cancellation or eviction notice or following any due process of law.

“Nothing in writing was given to the publication.”

The newspaper was published simultaneously from Srinagar and Jammu but the Srinagar edition was suspended from March due to the Covid lockdown.  

It is the second media office to face such action after an office of a local news agency was locked in Srinagar last week.

An official of the Estates Department said that Kashmir Times had two quarters in the Press Enclave and one of them was taken back by the department “amicably”. 

Political leaders on Tuesday too reacted sharply on the whole development, while a group of about dozen journalists offered their services for free as a mark of solidarity with the newspaper.

Former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah condemned the government action.

"This explains why some of our 'esteemed' publications have decided to become government mouthpieces, printing only government press handouts. The price of independent reportage is to be evicted without due process," he alleged in his tweet.

Expressing solidarity with Bhasin, the group of journalists alleged that there are renewed attempts 'to throttle the daily" which has been "at the forefront of fighting against government curbs on communications and press freedom in Kashmir, especially post-August 5".

"We express our solidarity and support to its editors and our colleagues there," it said.

"Some of the undersigned journalists would also like to extend an offer of devoting some work hours, for free, every day to support the Kashmir Times editorial team which can somewhat help sustain the paper in these difficult times," it further added in a statement.

CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami alleged that "it is nothing but vendetta politics and an attempt to suppress the dissenting voices in the region".

(With PTI Inputs)


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