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Gujarat activists, academics, artistes protest closure of 'Kashmir Times' office

Counterview Desk

As many as 134 citizens, mainly from Gujarat, condemning the closure of “Kashmir Times” office in Srinagar, have said that entire effort is to silence freedom of expression in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and teach its editor Anuradha Bhasin a lesson for opposing “repressive measures” of the Government of India following the abrogation of Article 370.
Calling the action vindictive, in a statement, they said, “Such measures of sealing the office of the ‘Kashmir Times’ are detrimental to the spirit of citizenry in a democratic country. Though Bhasin has got stay order against the sealing of the ‘Kashmir Times’ offices in J&K, the order has not been complied.”
Signatories from Gujarat include social activist and litterateur Prakash N Shah, veteran agricultural economist YK Alagh, danseuse Mallika Sarabhai, social scientist Ganshyam Shah and development economist Indira Hirway.

Text:

We, the citizens of India, condemn administrative actions of closing “Kashmir Times” under various pretexts and fully and wholeheartedly support and express solidarity with Anuradha Bhasin, editor, “Kashmir Times.” The entire country knows that these are the vindictive measures taken by the government against the "Kashmir Times".
Since last many years, there are steep rise in intolerance, curbing of freedom of expression, threatening, vigilantism, etc. by the state machinery. Particularly the situation of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is very alarming. The state of J&K is facing the peak of this atmosphere and the closure of the "Kashmir Times" is in series of these.
Centring round the abrogation of Article 370 last year, the state repression is at galore in J&K. Not only common citizens including the people’s representative, old age people, sick, children, women and all but even the vernacular press were under captivity position.
Bold journalists like Anuradha Bhasin dared to challenge this by continuing to reflect people’s agony in their newspaper on one side; and taking the course of judiciary on the other hand. She has chosen not to surrender and continue publishing the “Kashmir Times” abiding by the ethics of journalism.
She filed the case before the Supreme Court against the closure of press in J&K during post-Article 370 abrogation period which invited the ire of the Government and the administration. Under these circumstances, the press in J&K are working under much duress.
Such measures of sealing the office of the “Kashmir Times” in Srinagar and “teach her a lesson” are detrimental to the spirit of citizenry in a democratic country. Though Bhasin has got stay order against the sealing of the “Kashmir Times” offices in J&K, the order has not been complied.
Under these circumstances, we, the citizens, have come forward and are expressing our solidarity with Anuradha Bhasin and demand before the government and administration to stop harassing Ms. Bhasin and the status of "Kashmir Times" must be restored for publication.
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