‘It’s like we’ve been released from jail’: Kashmir daily after revocation of ban
The Valley’s English daily Kashmir Reader is set to hit the stands on Wednesday morning after the ban imposed on it by the government for “inciting violence” gets lifted after three months, ending a period of uncertainty for the newspaper’s staff.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti met members of the Kashmir Editors Guild and sources privy to the meeting told HT that the CM said she "hoped to read the Kashmir Reader on Wednesday morning".
The publication of the newspaper was banned by the state government since October 2 for “inciting violence”.
In an order dated September 30, the Srinagar district magistrate said that the contents of the newspaper “tends to incite acts of violence and disturb public peace and tranquillity” although he did not detail which specific report or article did so.
On Sunday, a senior state information official had told HT that the government has decided to revoke the ban.
Hilal Mir, editor of the Kashmir Reader, told HT, “It’s like we have been released from jail.”
All the journalists, except one who left due to personal reasons, continued working for the newspaper even after the ban, Mir said.
The ban was criticised by Kashmir’s media bodies, civil society and separatists, while international bodies like the Amnesty International, Pen International and Committee to Protect Journalists had called for its revocation.
On Tuesday, journalists of the newspaper -- without work for nearly 90 days now -- were ecstatic to return to office and begin working.
A correspondent with the newspaper Abdul Mohamin said he was working on a story on the effects of demonetisation in Kashmir.
“I am also working on a few other off-beat stories, which should hopefully be published in the coming days,” Mohamin said.
Moazum Mohammad, a senior journalist with Kashmir Reader, said that the newspaper’s office was “back to life”.
“I am excited. The office has come back to life. Congratulatory messages pouring in,” said Mohammad.
The newspaper is one of the media outlets reporting from the strife-torn south Kashmir region, the epicentre of the unrest since July 8 when protests began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani by forces.
Earlier this month, Jammu and Kashmir police registered a case against a trainee reporter with the newspaper on charges related to publication of “statements of conducing public mischief” for a September 28 report on crop-burning, in which villagers were quoted as blaming “government forces” for the alleged arson.