n Friday midnight, after the death toll of civilians killed by forces touched 40, police raided the corporate office of Greater Kashmir—in first raid of its kind—and seized not only printed copies of Kashmir Uzma, but arrested three employees at the Printing Press as well.
More than 50,000 copies of Kashmir Uzma were seized by the cops who also misbehaved with the staff after threatening them with dire consequences.
According to reports, other newspaper printing presses were also raided, leading to forced suspension of newspapers’ publication.
On Saturday, owners and editors of several Kashmir-based newspapers held a sit-in at Press Enclave here, condemning in strong words what they called the imposition of “Press Emergency.”
Holding placards, the participant editors, reporters said: “An emergency meeting of Kashmir-based newspaper editors/owners was held on Saturday afternoon in which the situation arising out of the police raids on all the printing presses was discussed threadbare”
They strongly condemned the action of the government which has resulted in breakdown of circulation of newspapers.
The participants termed it as an attack on freedom of press and vowed to “fight it back at all costs”.
A joint statement from editors/owners later said: “A government spokesperson when contacted during the meeting conveyed 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’.”
Taking the government’s statement into consideration, the meeting felt that it is not possible to publish the newspapers in such a situation, the statement read.
The editors apologized to the readers for the breakdown of newspaper publications which is beyond their control.
The meeting strongly condemned the formal ban, saying “it is not only reprehensible but also against the norms of a democratic set up.”
The editors assured the readers that as soon as the government lifts the “press emergency”, “we will resume our publications”.