Srinagar, Oct 3: Journalists in Kashmir Thursday staged a sit in protest here against the ongoing communication blockade which has completed two months in the valley now.
The journalists demanded free access to internet and communication.
A statement issued by the scribes read that all the media associations representing journalists, photojournalists, video-journalists, editors of local newspapers and members of the Kashmir Press Club, participated in the peaceful protest inside the Kashmir Press Club premises to highlight the problems faced by the journalists due to the communication blockade that was imposed by the government during the night on August 4, 2019.
“The protesting journalists described the communication blockade, including the snapping of internet services across all the platforms as an attempt to muzzle the press in valley,” the statement read.
“While limiting the access of media to a hall hired at a private hotel designated as Media Facilitation Centre– where the government has set-up nine computers and a cell phone connection for over 400 journalists – the government has attempted to prevent the information out of the valley,” the protesting journalists, as per the statement, said.
They added that the communication blackout, especially the snapping of internet and mobile services, was seriously hampering the professional work of journalists operating in the valley.
“How long can the journalists of Valley rely solely on official releases and occasional press briefings that have always been a one-way communication?” they asked.
“By holding the joint sit-in protest today the journalistic fraternity of Kashmir wants to convey in unambiguous terms that they had enough of it – sixty days of restrictions on media, sixty days without any communication and sixty days of an information blackout from the government,” the statement added.
While highlighting the problems faced by the media fraternity in Kashmir, the protesting journalists said that they are unable to cover their assignments due to the prevailing communication gag imposed by the government.
“In absence of the internet and broadband services, the local newspapers published from Srinagar have not been able to upload their internet editions or update the news on the web-portals,” they said.
“There have been no clear answers from the government that why it has barricaded the Kashmir journalist fraternity under a communication blockade,” the protesting journalists said.
“The government must come up with an answer on how long the crackdown on news would continue? By limiting the access and continuing with communications gag, the government aims to reduce the journalists as its mouthpieces,” read the statement.
“As such all the associations including Kashmir Working Journalists Association (KWJA), Kashmir Journalists Association (KJA), Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA), Kashmir Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) Kashmir News Television Journalist Association (KNTJA),Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG), JK Editors Forum (JKEF), Video Journalists Association and Journalist Federation of Kashmir (JFK) which participated in the joint protest demanded lifting of the communication gag, which includes restoring the mobile and internet facility to the newspaper offices and other media houses. Earlier in the meeting, all the associations decided to form a committee to pursue lifting of communication gag with the government authorities,” the statement added.
No power can stop KPs from returning to Kashmir: Rajnath
Mangaluru, Jan 27: No power can now stop Kashmiri Pandits from going back to Kashmir, defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday, forcefully defending the NDA government’s decision to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir and abrogating its special status under Article 370.
In an address at a rally, the defence minister also sent a strong message to Pakistan and said India will not let anyone live in peace if it is harmed.
“We will not touch anyone, but if someone bothers us, then we are not going to let them live in peace,” he said.
Referring to the exodus of a large number of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in the late 1990s at the height of militancy, Singh said no power now can stop them from returning to their homes.
On the Citizenship Amendment Act, the minister said it is not a law to hurt the sentiments of any religion but to give relief to victims of religious persecution.
“Mahatma Gandhi had told Nehru to give citizenship to minorities like Hindus and Sikhs if they come to India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fulfilled that vision by bringing in the law,” Singh said.
On several non-BJP states refusing to implement the CAA, the defence minister said it it is a central law and everyone should follow it.
Accusing the Congress of misleading people on the issue, he said the party should not forget its duty towards the nation just because it is in opposition.
More snow, rains from today
Srinagar, Jan 27: The local meteorological department has predicted yet another spell of rains and snow in Kashmir from Tuesday, even as minimum temperatures settled above the freezing point on Monday, providing some relief to the people.
In a statement, the MeT department predicted widespread moderate rains and snow on Tuesday which will dwindle to scattered places by Wednesday.
“Generally cloudy sky to widespread light to moderate rain/snow from night of 27th January. Widespread moderate rain and snow for the next two days,” read the MeT statement.
On Monday, Srinagar recorded a minimum temperature of 0.6 degrees Celsius, up from the minus 0.2 degrees Celsius on Sunday, a MET official said.
He said the night temperature in the city was above the freezing point for the first time in recent days and it was 1.6 degrees above normal for this part of the season.
In Qazigund the gateway town to the valley in south Kashmir the minimum settled at a low of 0.8 degrees Celsius an increase of 1.5 degrees from the previous night’s minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.
The night temperature in Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 10.4 degrees Celsius down over seven degrees from the minus 3 degrees Celsius on Sunday and Pahalgam was the coldest recorded place in the Kashmir Valley, the official added.
The ski-resort of Gulmarg, in north Kashmir, registered a minimum of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius, the official added.
The night temperature in Kokernag in south settled at a low of minus 0.8 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara in north recorded a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, the official said.
Leh in Ladakh Union Territory recorded a low of minus 18.4 degrees Celsius, he said, adding the nearby Drass registered a minimum of minus 27.8 degrees Celsius.
Nixing Sher-e-Kashmir from awards political vendetta: NC
Srinagar, Jan 27: National Conference Monday took strong exception to axing of the name of Sheikh Abdullah from various J&K police gallantry awards, saying the measure has taken vendetta to a higher level.
During a meet of party functionaries here, the NC leaders and workers unanimously condemned the axing of ‘Sher-e-Kashmir from J&K Police gallantry awards.
“It is a calibrated effort to trim every single symbol of J&K’s political individuality. The present ruling dispensation in Delhi heaving with subjective prejudices and complexes against ideals revolving around the Indian constitution and the spirits of its accommodative federalism hasn’t ceased its witch hunt against everything recognisable with sheikh Abdullah. The axing of Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from state gallantry awards should be seen in that direction. It is yet another glaring attempt of perversion aimed to distort J&K’s history, which has long been familiarized with Sheikh Abdullah even decades after his physically leaving the world,” said party spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar.
He said nixing Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from awards, and state holidays cannot erase him from J&K’s history.
“His persona is above petty recognitions, and awards. A conscious leader, he preached to his countrymen to overcome timidity and prejudices. He decried lack of courage as a biggest curse in achieving self-respect,” he said.
While rebuffing former deputy CM Nirmal Singh’s remarks on Sheikh Abdullah, Imran said: “We unequivocally condemn his uncouth remarks against Sheikh Sahib. Being lost into the obscurity he is hitting on the tallest political statesman and charismatic mass leader of J&K and Sub-continent to gain cheap publicity.”
Meanwhile party’s members of parliament Muhammad Akbar Lone and (Retd) Justice Hassnain Masoodi also condemned axing of Sher-e-Kashmir’s name from JK police gallantry awards, terming the move “vengeful and shocking”.