The Jammu and Kashmir administration has sealed the Srinagar office of “The Kashmir Times”. The English newspaper has offices both in Jammu and Srinagar. The building was sealed by the government’s Estates Department.
The executive editor of the newspaper, Anuradha Bhasin, alleged that the government is taking revenge as the newspaper has taken critical approach for the administration. She told the Press Trust of India (PTI) that she didn’t receive any written orders or any notice of cancellation or eviction.
About 2 months back, Anuradha was evicted from her government allotted residence in Jammu.
Enclosing a picture of some government officials locker the office of her newspaper, Bhasin took on to Twitter to say that the Estates Department locked their office without any due process of cancellation and eviction in the same way as she was evicted from her flat. She added that it was nothing but vendetta from the J&K administration’s part for speaking out against them.
Anuradha said that the government was harassing her for speaking out against the government and going to the Supreme Court in opposition of the media restrictions in the Jammu and Kashmir. She told that the day she went to the court last year, the government stopped advertising to The Kashmir Times from the same day.
However, the Estates Department rejected the allegations and claimed that they only took possession of the attached house allocated the English daily’s late founder Ved Bhasin. Deputy Director of the Estates Department told the Indian Express that there were two buildings allotted. One was the newspaper office and the other one was the residence to Ved Bhasin. He said that since Ved Bhasin is no more, so they took control of the building.
Denying the Deputy Director Mohammad Aslam, Anuradha said that the officials just locked the office.
Condemning the J&K administration’s action, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti said that Anuradha stood up to “Central government’s illegal moves and was one of the few editors to do so”. She said that BJP was settling scores with everyone who dares to disagree with their policies and shutting down her office signifies that.
Indirectly referring to the incident, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted that this explains why some of the “esteemed” publications have decided to become mouthpieces of the government.