NEW DELHI: Indian media bodies have deplored the forcible preemption of the Kashmir Press Club in Srinagar by a group of intelligencers who raided the firmaments on Saturday under the watch of fortified police — a month before fresh choices are due to be held there on Feb 15.

The preemption, described by media spokespersons as an achievement, took place under the cover of a Covid lockdown ordered by the government at the weekend.

The Delhi Union of Intelligencers (DUJ) said on Sunday it was “ frustrated at the government move to close the Press Club of Kashmir”.

The DUJ statement said the authorities had renewed the license of the Kashmir Press Club on Dec 29 after the issue had hung fire for months. Once the renewal notice was entered, the Press Club delinquently blazoned choices.

Now the license renewal has been suddenly canceled, presumably beca­use of an adverse intelligence report. “ This volte-face is unexplainable.”

The DUJ slammed what it said were arbitrary and unabated apprehensions, detentions, and questioning of intelligencers in Kashmir. “ On Jan 5, Sajad Gul, a trainee intelligencer with Kashmir Walla, was arrested for (allegedly) picking anti-government passions. Last time Salman Shah and Suhail Dar were arrested for breach of the peace. Intelligencer Aasif Sultan has been in jail since Aug 27, 2018, and awaits trial.”

The Delhi- grounded Press Club of India slammed the preemption.

Former Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti expressed their shock over the‘ achievement by some intelligencers supported by the sanctioned ministry.

Taking to Twitter, National Conference Vice President Omar wrote “ There’s no government this intelligencer’ hasn’t smelled up to & no government he hasn’t prevaricated on behalf of. I should know, I’ve seen both sides veritably nearly. Now he’s served from a state- patronized achievement.”

According, a fact-checking portal, the leader of the preemption — Saleem Pandit — was among the intelligencers invited to meet foreign diplomats brought to the Valley on a stint conducted by the Indian government in Jan 2020.

“ At 1.45 pm, the group’s head, intelligencer Saleem Pandit, arrived in an armored cavalcade comprising a bulletproof Ambassador and a Scorpio along with his security detail.”

Within an hour an advertisement was made through the Press Club’s functionary WhatsApp group and dispatch address, that “ colorful intelligencer organizations across Kashmir valley unanimously decided to form an interim body of three members with M. Saleem Pandit as chairman, Zulfikar Majid, office chief of Deccan Herald as General Secretary and Arshid Rasool, Editor of Daily Gadyal as treasurer of the Club till choices are held in a free and fair manner”. The statement released didn’t specify the name of intelligence organizations supporting the move.

News laundry quoted a member of the last tagged body as likening the preemption of the press club to the stalling of choices of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHCBA).




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