Imphal: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) condemned the arbitrary sealing of “The Kashmir Times” office in Srinagar without any notice. The Union views the J&K authorities action as clearly vindictive and demands that till due process of law is applied the office be de-sealed in the interest of fair play and justice.
In a press statement of IJU, it was stated that the daily’s Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin tweeted yesterday: Today Estate Department locked our office without any due process of cancellation and 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!
The move of the J&K Estate department against one of the oldest dailies has drawn widespread condemnation, as it smacks of vendetta and is an outright bid to continue to intimidate the media in the UT. Recal, that Anuradha had filed a writ petition in Supreme Court last year soon after the Abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August demanding restoration of communications and measures to ensure free and safe movement of journalists to carry out their duties. The apex court had finally asked the J&K administration to review curbs on internet communications every week, it added.
However, in a reaction, the Estate department is quoted to claimed: “their office is running in another quarter while this quarter was not in the name of Kashmir Times. It was being used for residential purposes by its employees and we requested for its vacation some two-three months back. Yesterday, they themselves handed over the facility.”
In a statement, IJU President and former member, Press council of India Geetartha Pathak and secretary general and IFJ vice-president Sabina Inderjit said the case needs to be followed up as the action of the authorities predictably is retaliation to Anuradha filing a petition in the Supreme Court, in which IJU too had impleaded, added the statement.
The union demands that authorities desist from intimidating the media and its Journalists in Kashmir as umpteen number of cases have been reported and respect the freedom of the press critical to any democracy.