SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday took over the Kashmir Press Club (KPC), which was closed by a faction allegedly backed by authorities since Sunday, and cancelled the land and building allotment of the club and handed it back to the Estates Department.
The move triggered anger among the journalist community as well as from a section of political parties.
In a statement, the government said it was decided that the allotment of the premises be cancelled and that control of land and buildings be reverted in view of the ‘‘unpleasant developments and dissensions between various groups of journalists’’.
“The factual position is that KPC as a registered body has ceased to exist and its managing body too has come to a legal closure on July 14 2021, the date on which its tenure came to an end. In its failure to register itself under the Societies of Registration Act, further compounded by its failure to hold elections to constitute a new managing body, some individuals of the erstwhile club have been committing illegalities on several counts, least of which are false portrayal of being owner-managers of an entity which is no longer in legal vogue,” it said.
The takeover came three days after the group allegedly backed by the administration took control of the club on Saturday. The previous committee delayed elections for unknown reasons, senior journalist Saleem Pandit had said.
KPC’s outgoing general secretary Ishfaq Tantray said it seems the ultimate goal was to shut down the club. “(But) journalism thrived in Kashmir and it will survive all crests and troughs in future.”
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti tweeted that it seemed that the coup and its aftermath was entirely orchestrated to shut down another outlet that helped journalists to debate and discuss opinions freely.