Media Being Silenced in J&K: Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin

The Srinagar office of Kashmir Times was sealed by the Estates Department on 19 October without any notice.

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Operating from a government-allotted building since 1993, the Kashmir Times’ office located among several other newspaper offices in Srinagar’s Press Enclave area was sealed by the Estates Department on 19 October, without any notice. Alleging “vendetta for speaking out”, Editor Anuradha Bhasin tells The Quint that the eviction is part of a pattern in how the “higher-ups are silencing and suppressing mediapersons in the Valley.”

‘No Due Process of Law Followed’

Bhasin alleges that the eviction was done without any prior notice as is the due process of the law.

When the newspaper staff asked the Estates Department officials to show the order, they were told to ‘talk to the higher-ups’.

Bhasin says they were pre-empting some kind of targeting after they heard rumours about the cancellation of allotment. They had even approached the Estates Department weeks before the eviction, they failed to get a clear answer from the authorities.

“Kashmir Times had consistently maintained an independent stand and was critical of the government policies, bringing in voices of the marginalised and the oppressed people. And, particularly because I had approached the Supreme Court last year in August against the communication ban imposed by the government. So, in light of all these facts, we felt that it was important to clarify and find out what the matter was but we did not get an answer.”
Anuradha Bhasin, Editor, Kashmir Times

Just weeks ago, on 5 October, Bhasin was evicted from the government-allotted flat in Jammu that she had been living in since 2000. Bhasin alleges that no notice was served for that eviction as well.

“They broke open the locks of my apartment and pushed some new allottees inside. They even gave them hold of all my belongings and possessions which are still locked up there.”
Anuradha Bhasin, Editor, Kashmir Times

‘These Are Attempts To Ensure Silence in J&K’

Bhasin says that there is a pattern to suppress mediapersons to ensure complete censorship in the Valley since 5 August 2019, so that only one kind of narrative emanates.

“In the last one year, several journalists have been slapped with criminal cases, many more have been summoned to police stations and by the cyber police and questioned and grilled for long hours, even slapped, abused and intimidated,” she adds.

On 21 October, Bhasin tweeted that she has been granted a stay order on the eviction from Kashmir Times’ Srinagar office for 12 days.

(The Quint tried to reach out to the Estates Department of J&K via phone and email. This article will be updated as and when the department responds.)

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