Valley back to dark ages as press gagged, staff arrested

Srinagar, July 17, 2016 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, following the media gag by the puppet authorities, no newspaper could hit stands for the second consecutive day, today, in the territory. The authorities clamped down on Press, raided printing presses, detained their staffers and seized copies of all major newspapers, a move which was vehemently criticized by all editors of Kashmir-based newspapers.

A police party from Budgam raided the Rising Kashmir Press at Sheikhpora, Budgam and seized copies of the English daily, Rising Kashmir, Urdu daily, Buland Kashmir and Kashmir daily Sangarmaal early Saturday morning. As the staff had left after printing the copies, Police detained all the employees of Rising Kashmir Printing Press including the foreman, Muhammad Yousuf.

The Police team later reached the Press Enclave and seized the vehicle carrying all the copies of Rising Kashmir and detained Rising Kashmir driver, Irshad Khan. “They caught hold of me at the Press Enclave and asked to follow them to the police station,” Irshad said.

The entire staff of Rising Kashmir Printing Press was later detained at Humhama Police Post while all the copies of the newspaper were seized. They were harassed and intimidated at police station. Police also seized copies of ‘Greater Kashmir’ and ‘Kashmir Uzma’.

Talking to Rising Kashmir, Printer and Publisher of Greater Kashmir, Rashid Makhdoomi said the employees of the Greater Kashmir Printing Press had finished printing of Kashmiri Uzma, their Urdu newspaper and printing of around 10,000 copies of GK and snatched mobile phones of its staff, stopped machines, removed the printing plates and stopped printing of the newspaper.

Makhdoomi said Police took the load carrier carrying the newspaper copies of both Kashmir Uzma and Greater Kashmir. “They did not even spare the wasted copies of the newspaper,” he said. Makhdoomi said Police arrested the Greater Kashmir Printing Press foreman, Biju Chaudhary, machine man, Raju Nepali and load carrier driver Farooq Ahmad.

“They were detained at Humhama Police Station for while all the copies of Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Uzma were seized,” he said. According to Kashmir Times, over 20 policeman raided its Printing Press at Rangreth in Srinagar outskirts at midnight and arrested its foreman Fayaz Ahmed and 10 other employees.

“The Policemen seized the metallic printing plates of Kashmir Times and printed copies of the newspaper and closed down the KT Press Pvt Ltd Printing Press,” the newspaper said. “The Policemen misbehaved with the employees present there and snatched their cell phones and the employees who tried to resist were beaten up by the policemen.” Police also seized the newspaper copies of other newspapers published from Srinagar.

Meanwhile, to protest against the crackdown on Kashmir Press, an emergency meeting of Kashmir-based newspaper editors, printers and publishers, was held Saturday afternoon at Press Colony in which the situation arising from the police raids on all the printing presses was discussed.

A statement of the newspaper editors, printers and publishers of Kashmir issued in Srinagar said they strongly condemned the action. The participants termed it as an attack on the freedom of press and vowed to fight it back at all costs, the statement said. The newspaper editors apologized to the readers for the breakdown of the newspaper publications which was beyond their control, the statement said.

The journalists later held a protest at Residency Road outside the Press Colony against the clampdown on media. They staged a sit-in and were carrying placards which read ‘Stop Censorship’, ‘We Want Freedom of Speech’, ‘Don’t Stifle The Media’ and ‘End Communication Curfew’, ‘Hypocrites Get Offended By The Truth’, ‘Censorship Is To Art As Lynching Is To Justice’, ‘If Freedom Of Speech Is Taken Away, Then Dumb And Silent We May Be Led, Like Sheep To The Slaughter’, ‘Give Me The Liberty To Know, To Utter, And To Argue Freely According To Conscience, Above All Liberties’ and ‘Because If You Don’t Stand Up For The Stuff You Don’t Like, When They Come For The Stuff You Do Like, You’ve Already Lost.’

For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
Phone: 92-51-4435548, 4435549
Fax: 92-51-4861736