As protesters continue to clash with security forces in Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti led PDP-BJP government has launched a clampdown on the local media.
The Jammu and Kashmir police on Saturday raided several newspaper printing presses in Srinagar and seized all copies. Policemen also reportedly detained the staff and prevented the newspapers from publishing more copies, Indian Express reported.
Arshad Kaloo, Senior Editor of Greater Kashmir, the Valley’s leading English daily told Indian Express, “They (policemen) arrived at our printing press at around 1 am, when our men were printing newspapers. They stopped the (printing) machines and seized the papers that we had already published. They also arrested our four men and released them in the morning.”
Another English daily, Rising Kashmir, had finished printing its edition and was about to be circulated when some policemen raided its distribution site, it said on its web edition. The Kashmir Times press, which prints many Urdu and English dailies has also been locked down.
Journalists at a meeting of newspaper editors and owners termed “it as an attack on the freedom of press and vowed to fight back at all costs”. They said in a statement that they spoke with the government but a spokesman told them that “a strict curfew” will be imposed in the next three days” following “apprehensions of a serious trouble aimed at subverting peace” in the Valley.
In this situation, the government spokesman told Srinagar-based editors that the “movement of newspaper staff and distribution of newspapers will not be possible”. They strongly condemned this ban and termed it “reprehensible”.
Cable TV was snapped on Friday evening. Mobile phone internet connectivity has also been cut in the valley since the July 8 killing of the 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani.