Inflammatory reporting by a section of the media in Jammu and Kashmir has forced the Government to seal the offices of three newspapers and enforce a strict curb on media to avoid any further turmoil. As is known, the Valley is already on the boil following three children being allegedly shot dead by the CRPF forces during protest rallies.
For allegedly inciting communal hatred by publishing inflammatory reports about damage to a temple in Anantnag, the Government on Friday night sealed the offices of three Jammu-based newspapers. “Police raided in the night when the newspapers were being published and sealed our office. They did not give us any chance to clarify. Same news (which police claimed was inflammatory) was published in various other dailies as well, however, the police took a one-sided action by sealing the offices of only a few newspapers,” alleged Roop Lal Sharma, Chairman, ‘The Shadow’, one of the newspapers under fire.
Sharma further said, “It is an Emergency like situation, when media was not allowed to express itself freely in 1975 in India.”
The other two newspapers that have been banned by the Government are ‘The Early Times’ and ‘The Glimpse of Future’. Meanwhile, managements of all three newspapers have filed a petition in the High Court against the ban. “We are quite hopeful that the Court will be lenient towards us,” said Sharma of The Shadow. The hearing on the case is scheduled for July 6.
Meanwhile, Government officials on Friday seized the copies of ‘Kashmir Uzma’, an Urdu Daily, and English daily ‘Greater Kashmir’. Rashid Makhbooni, Printer & Publisher, ‘Kashmir Uzma’ and ‘Greater Kashmir’, said, “Copies of both the Urdu and English dailies were seized by the police on Saturday morning when they were being carried to various destinations in Kashmir. The police had not sent any notice to us and we were not aware of the curfew in the region.”
All Jammu Newspapers Editors Association and All Small and Medium Association have termed the action as assault on freedom of the press in a democracy and have condemned it.