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Wednesday Oct 21 2020

CPJ condemns India's move to shut down prominent newspaper in occupied Kashmir

An international press freedom organization, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is based in New York. — Photo Courtesy: APP

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on Wednesday slammed authorities in India-occupied  Kashmir for shutting down the Srinagar office of The Kashmir Times (KT) — a leading English daily and one of the oldest newspapers of the disputed region.

Taking to Twitter, CPJ, which is based in New York, called upon 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.

Read more: CPJ 'deeply concerned' with Pakistan's move to establish special media courts

“Today, Estates Deptt locked our office without any due process of cancellation & eviction, the 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.

Following the move, several Kashmiri political leaders were arrested and 13,000 Kashmiri youth detained, many of whom were reportedly tortured.