NEW YORK, Oct 21 (APP): The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent watchdog body, has condemned authorities in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir for closing the Srinagar office of The Kashmir Times (KT), a leading English daily and one of the oldest newspapers in the disputed state.
In a tweet, CPJ, which is based in New York, called on the authorities to stop trying to silence “independent and critical voices”, after the paper’s premises were shut down.
“We condemn the ongoing targeting and harassment of @AnuradhaBhasin_ (the newspaper’s editor) and The Kashmir Times. Authorities must stop trying to silence independent and critical voices and should respect press freedom,” CPJ said.
In her tweet, Anuradha Bhasin, editor of The Kashmir Times, said that the authorities sealed the newspaper’s office without giving any prior notice.
“Today, Estates Deptt locked our office without any due process of cancellation & eviction, same way as I was evicted from a flat in Jammu, where my belongings including valuables were handed over to ‘new allottee’!,” Ms. Bhasin said.
“Vendetta for speaking out! No due process followed. How peevish!,” she added.
The KT’s closure followed a similar incident on Saturday when the Indian authorities sealed the office of a leading news agency of the region, the Kashmir News Service (KNS).
The action against media offices and journalists is part of the broader crackdown that followed India’s illegal move to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year when all Kashmiri political leaders were arrested, 13,000 Kashmiri youth detained, many of them tortured, young boys summarily executed, protests violently put down, including by using blinding pellet guns, and imposing collective punishments– demolishing and burning entire neighbourhoods and villages.