Srinagar, Jan 16, KDC: The Editors Guild of India is aghast at the manner in which the office and the management of Kashmir Press Club, the largest journalists’ association in the Valley, was forcibly taken over by a group of journalists with the help of armed policemen on January 15, 2022. The Guild is equally alarmed by an arbitrary order of putting the registration of the Kashmir Press Club “in abeyance”, a day before this armed take-over of the Club, on January 14, 2022, by the Registrar of Societies. The Club had been issued a fresh “re-registration” as recently as December 29, 2021 following a long process of verification of an application made by them in May 2021, in response to public notices issued by the Registrar, they said in a statement.
They said that “The Club was under an interim management after the ‘re registration’, and had on January 13, 2022 announced an election date of February 15, 2022, to elect a new management body as well as the executive committee. The armed takeover has effectively scuttled this rule based functioning of the Club. Even more disturbingly, the state police entered the premises without any due warrant or paperwork, and have therefore been brazenly complicit in this coup, in which a group of people have become self-declared management of the Club.”
“This violation of the sanctity of the club by the police and the local administration is a manifestation of the continuing trend to smother press freedom in the state. Just recently, Sajad Gul, a young journalist was arrested for merely posting a video on social media, which showed a family protesting against the Indian government, it siad.
Editors Guild demands immediate restoration of the status quo before this hostile takeover, announcement of elections to appoint a new management body and executive council, and strict prohibitions on any armed forces from interfering with the functioning of the Club, without due legal sanction. The Guild further demands an independent inquiry as to how armed forces entered the Club premises, the statement added. (KDC)