SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, July 16 (Xinhua) — Authorities in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir Saturday
imposed a gag on media by seizing newspapers and closing down cable television.
Police, during overnight raids in curfew-bound Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, seized thousands of printed copies of different newspapers and detained employees of printing presses.
“At about 2:00 a.m. the police contingent raided our office and the press,” said Mir Iqbal, an employee with the English
daily Greater Kashmir.
“More than 20 policemen barged into GK printing Press and directed the employees to stop printing the newspaper. Within no time they stopped the machines and pulled out the plates.”
Rising Kashmir, another Srinagar based newspaper, said police raided its printing press and seized printed copies of the paper.
“As the staff left after printing the copies, police took into custody all the employees and asked them to identify the distribution site. They later reached Press Enclave and seized the vehicle carrying the printed papers,” said Irshad Khan, in-charge of newspaper distribution at Rising Kashmir.
Like Greater Kashmir and Rising Kashmir, copies of many other newspapers were also seized and stopped from hitting the stands.
Cable operators said they have not received anything in writing, but were told to shut the operations by police.
“We were not given any reason by police other than the order of shutting down the operation,” a cable television operator said.
Authorities have also conveyed to the local news gathering agencies to stop sending bulletins about day’s events
including killings and injuries during clashes.
Cellphone and Internet services in the region have remained suspended since last weekend in a bid to prevent flow of information and people from mobilizing.
On Saturday, Srinagar based newspaper editors staged demonstrations to protest the government action.
“The government has conveyed us that in view of apprehensions of serious trouble in Kashmir valley in next three days aimed at subverting peace, strict curfew will be imposed and movement of newspaper staff and distribution of newspapers will not be possible,” an editor told media during a protest demonstration.
The editors said it would be impossible to publish newspapers in view of the government stand.
Protests broke out in the region after Indian troops killed top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) Burhan Muzaffar Wani, along with two associates. Wani’s killing saw people taking to roads and opened a cycle of deadly
A youth was killed during the day in alleged police firing at Hatmulla in Kupwara district, northwest of Srinagar city. With Saturday’s killing, local media reports put the death toll at 41.
The continued protests and clashes have been increasing the number of killings in the restive region. Over 3,100 people including 1,500 government forces were injured in the ongoing clashes.
In 2010, a similar gag was imposed in the region during street protests that continued for months and claimed over 100 lives.
Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir. Enditem