Leaders Criticise Sealing Of "Kashmir Times" Office In Srinagar

Joanna Estrada
October 22, 2020

The Estates Department on Monday sealed the office of the prominent English daily allotted to it in a government building at Press Enclave, with the newspaper owners claiming that no prior notice was given to them.

Officials of the Estates Department, however, said that there were two buildings, one of which was the Kashmir Times' office, while, another was "allotted as a residence to Ved Bhasin sahib", according to Indian media outlets.

"Vendetta for speaking out!"

However, the due process has not been followed in my particular case, she added.

"Today, Estates Deptt 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". Few cops in civvies were assisting them in the loot and they were present in every room and tried hiding their faces when I was clicking their photos".

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"No eviction notice was served on us and neither was there any formal communication", the Press Trust of India quoted her as saying. "They themselves handed over the building to us and today our officials went to take possession".

While officials confirmed to PTI that the Estates Department sealed the office on Monday, they gave no reasons for it. "When the management asked for the orders, the Estates Department officials said that they had no orders and asked them to approach the senior officers instead", the management said.

The journalist said they had also approached the court four weeks ago.

She further said that the equipment, including computers and other infrastructure, was locked up in the office as well.

Mainstream political parties condemned the sealing of the Kashmir Times office, calling it "vendetta". Bhasin had been instrumental in taking a petition on the curbs under which Kashmiri journalists had been working since the reading down of Article 370, to the Supreme Court.

"The day I went to court past year, that very day, the state government advertisements to Kashmir Times were stopped", she said.

National Conference Vice-President Omar Abdullah tweeted, "This explains why some of our "esteemed" publications have chose to become Government mouthpieces, printing only government press handouts".

"The office of The Kashmir Times, one of the most respected newspapers of the region, has just been sealed by the local govt after its editor AnuradhaBhasin was recently manhandled".

"Shutting down her office in Srinagar is straight out of BJP's vendetta playbook to settle scores with those who dare to disagree", she tweeted. "The price of independent reportage is to be evicted without due process", he alleged in his tweet.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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