Highlights

  • J&K administration takes back premises of Kashmir Press Club
  • Kashmir Press Club has ceased to exist: J&K administration
  • Editors Guild: it's a coup, attempt to smother press freedom

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Why govt 'seizure' of Kashmir Press Club will hit freelance journalists most

The administration said it was concerned over the situation that had arisen due to the 'unpleasant turn' of events involving two warring groups using the banner of the Kashmir Press Club.

The Kashmir Press Club has “ceased to exist”, the Jammu and Kashmir administration said on Monday as it took back the premises allotted to the largest journalists’ body in the Valley following “dissensions” between two factions, one of which reportedly had tacit support of the govt.

The J&K admin has cancelled the land allotted to the club premises and ordered that it be returned to the UT’s Estate Dept.

The administration said it was concerned over the situation that had arisen due to the "unpleasant turn" of events involving two warring groups using the banner of the Kashmir Press Club.

Things came to a boil on Saturday (January 15) when a group of journalists accompanied by policemen armed with assault rifle reached the club claiming to be its "new interim management". This was a day after the administration had put KPC’s registration, which was renwed on December 29, 2021 "in abeyance". They cited the failure of the earlier management to hold elections for the club committee

The journalists released a statement stating that "some journalist forums" had chosen them to be new office-bearers, a claim contested by nine journalist associations from the Valley.

The J&K admin said that the Kashmir Press Club has ceased to exits because it failed to re-register itself and as a result of that the question of an interim management body also does not arise.

Also watch: After downgrade, India to plan own democracy rank, press freedom index: report

The Jammu and Kashmir administration had come under severe criticism after pictures showing armed policemen inside the KPC were circulated in the social media and posted on Twitter by former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

In its statement, the Editors Guild of India termed the events a "coup" and a continuing trend to smother press freedom in the union territory with the help of police who have been "brazenly complicit" in it.

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