Srinagar, July 4: Kashmir Editors Guild (KEG) Wednesday asked the visiting team of Press Council of India (PCI) to utilise its resources and issue a detailed report about the journalists who were killed in Kashmir during the last 30 years.
The editors said ‘Rising Kashmir’ editor, Shujaat Bukhari, one of the most prominent journalists, was brutally assassinated and his killers must be brought to justice. They said his journalism was flawless.
KEG said the routine wreath laying and glowing tributes to the fallen journalists in Kashmir will not help the shocked media fraternity unless the PCI utilises its enormous resources and unmatched influence to issue a detailed report about every single murder of the journalists in Kashmir.
The report must start with the assassination of Shujaat and get into every single murder since 1990. The report must offer some sort of detail about why they were killed.
The editors said that when a journalist is killed in Kashmir, there are condemnations and obituaries – coming from all sides, and it all stops at that. Though in all the murders, the police did register cases but not in a single case does the media fraternity know the follow up, as the cases are closed and forgotten.
Right now when everybody is genuinely concerned over why a prominent editor was gunned down, the appreciation was lacking when Shujaat was seeking his rights before the policymakers in Delhi after DAVP stopped advertisements to major publications across the state including Rising Kashmir.
KEG, however, appreciated the PCI for being responsive in the first such killing since 1990. Kashmir has lost 14 journalists in turmoil and in Jammu one photographer was also killed.
Editors told the PCI that there was dire need for engagement between the institution of PCI and the journalists who are walking on razors edge almost on daily basis in Kashmir. The bigger crisis, they said, was to ensure the media in Kashmir survives with its credibility intact in wake of massive propaganda by the state apparatus and faceless individuals operating in the shady corners of internet.
Tragically, they pointed out that the PCI engagement with the media in Kashmir has three milestones so far. The first was when a group of editors were flown to Srinagar to rebut the reportage on Kunan mass rapes. The report that the three members of the PCI jotted down overnight was a decree against the Srinagar press corps and was used as a key document by the state in Srinagar and Delhi against the Kashmir media.
The editors reiterated – they had already stated the same in their earlier interactions with the PCI in 2017, that the PCI should either re-investigate the case and absolve Kashmir media of its alleged bias in its reportage of the incident or withdraw the report, the ‘Crisis and Credibility’.
The report, however, has not impacted the fairness and objectivity of the Kashmir media corps in covering a bleeding conflict. This, they said, is vindicated by the fact that everywhere across the globe when it comes to the coverage of a conflict, Kashmiri scribes will be covering it for international media outlets.
PCI’s second major engagement was in 2017, when the PCI team visited Srinagar and spent a good time in interactions with the governance structure, the peripheral reporters and the media in Srinagar. The objective of the prolonged visit was to investigate a few observations made by the Interlocutors on Kashmir – Dileep Padgoanker, Radha Kumar, M M Ansari, about the conduct of Kashmir media including the funding of media, their allegedly exaggerated circulation figures and other things. It was interesting that while Government of India binned the interlocutors report, the PCI found it as its top priority to investigate the observations.
But the KEG is thankful that the report that was made public by the PCI later 2017 investigated these observations and reduced the weight of blatantly unsubstantiated and baseless allegations heaped on Kashmir media by the vested interests.
Now, as the three member PCI team is visiting the state, it is yet another investigation – this time probing how and why Shujaat Bukhari was assassinated. On the assassination, the KEG said they know as much as the police revealed.
KEG told the PCI will have to increase its engagements with the journalists embattled in conflict and bloody situations. They suggested them to put their weight behind the rightful demands of the Jammu and Kashmir media in getting their rights which have been denied to them without any reason for last many years.
This blockages, they said, is aimed at hitting the viability of the operations of the print industry in the state. KEG also suggested that the PCI will have to be quick and fast in responding to the tensions the media faces in Srinagar and in urgent cases it can take suo moto cognizance of the events which revolve round the physical safety and professional requirement of the journalists operation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Admitting that the media in Kashmir was in dire straits, the PCI team said they will be quick in addressing the issues pertaining to the state. They asked Srinagar media to strongly react to the efforts by the police or any other security agency that is aimed at interrupting the news gathering and dissemination. PCI team said they will act strongly on issues as and when they reach PCI.
Tribunal serves notice to Jamaat-e-Islami
Srinagar, Apr 19: The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, constituted by the Centre, has issued a show cause notice to Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu Kashmir (JeI), which was banned by the government in February, asking it why the organisation cannot be declared as an unlawful association.
“A notice is hereby given under sub-section (2) of Section 4 of the Act (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) and you are hereby called upon to show cause, within 30 days from the date of service of this notice, as to why your Association, declared as unlawful, be not adjudicated to be so and why an order confirming such declaration be not made under Section 4(3) of the Act,” said the notice issued by Registrar, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal, Lorren Bamniyal, to the JeI.
The notice was issued on April 5.
The Tribunal asked the Jamaat to file objections or reply affidavits, if any, before the next date of hearing of the Tribunal at the office of the Registrar.
“In case the objections/reply and the documents are in regional language, true English translation thereof be also attached. You may appear through a duly authorised person before the Tribunal on 20 May, 2019 at 3 PM in Court Room number 26 for further proceedings,” the notice said.
The Centre had constituted the tribunal headed by a Delhi High Court judge to decide whether there is sufficient cause for declaring the JeI as an unlawful association.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on March 23 had issued a notification which states that Justice Mukta Gupta would head the tribunal set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The government in its February 28 notification had banned the JeI, saying it was of the opinion that the Jamaat is “in close touch with militant outfits” and is supporting “extremism and militancy” in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.
It said the outfit claims “secession of a part of the Indian territory from the Union” and supporting terrorist and separatist groups fighting for this purpose.
The action came following the February 14 attack in Pulwama that killed over 40 CRPF personnel.
Two militants killed in Rafiabad gunfight:Reports
Srinagar, Apr 19: Multiple gunshots were heard in Malpora Watergam area of Rafiabad in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Friday evening.
Sources said that at around 8:55 pm, unknown persons fired a volley of bullets in paddy fields in Malpora Watergam village of Rafiabad.
Sources said that a joint team of Army’s 32RR and Jammu and Kashmir Police’s SOG cordoned off the area in Malpora Watergam after credible inputs about presence of militants.
They said that as the forces laid the siege, gunshots were heard from the area.
SP Sopore Javid Iqbal said that “we are verifying the incident.”
He said that a cordon has been launched in the area.
Unconfirmed reports at the time of filing this report said that two militants were killed during the gunfight that ensued soon after.
Budgam: NC worker of 4 decades stays away from polls
Srinagar, Apr 18: Outside a two-storey Government Girls Higher Secondary High School in Ichigam village of Budgam, a man donning a chequered pheran loudly quipped at every person entering the polling booth to cast his or her vote on Thursday.
He argued with them over the performance of their elected leaders in the past as agents of political parties tried hard to convince him to cast his vote or stay away from others who wanted to.
Ghulam Hassan, in his 60s, has been an avid supporter of National Conference (NC) at Ichigam for the last 40 years.
Having worked hard over the years to lure voters for NC, Hassan, Thursday, was one among those who sidelined from the party and preferred not to vote.
He said the previous regimes failed to develop his area due to which he had decided to boycott and also not to “befool” people in this Lok Sabha election.
“It was the only option available with me. I have been supporting the party (NC) ever since I became eligible to caste vote. But it didn’t benefit me nor people of my area,” he said.
Hassan, who as per locals, would often engage himself in heated arguments with political rivals during elections, was dejected over the state of roads and growing unemployment in his village.
“I have two sons, who are sitting idle at home. Many students here have completed their higher studies and haven’t got a job. These politicians appear only during elections and forget their promises once they are elected,” he said.
Hassan said the idea of boycotting the election was way better than living with a hope of some relief from the politicians.
“Under these circumstances, it is better that you vote for a candidate who is trustworthy. But we are short of such candidates,” he said.
When agents attempted “tricking” him by saying his vote would secure Article 370 and 35-A, he replied, “Many among you have voted and let us see how your vote will benefit Kashmir,” he said.
Few metres away in another polling booth in Ichigam, Ghulam Muhammad Dar voiced similar concerns but said he voted after trusting the candidate for one last time.
“I have been casting my vote for the last 50 years and have seen how these politicians befool people. But this is going to be my last vote if the candidate didn’t work for the development and safeguarding special position of Kashmir,” he said.