After seeking the Army's help to restore law and order, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday virtually banned the media in the Valley by imposing severe restrictions on journalists.
Authorities cancelled curfew passes issued to journalists and instructed the police and the CRPF not to allow any mediaperson to move around. Consequently, a number of journalists working for local, national and international organisations were not allowed to reach their offices.
PTI bureau chief in Srinagar A.M. Sofi was stopped by the CRPF in the Natipora area and asked to return home. “They told me that they had instructions from the top not to allow any journalist,” he said.
This reporter was not allowed to cross the Hyderpora bypass.
The police also clamped restrictions on the Press Enclave at Pratap Park, where most of the newspaper offices are located, asking the employees to stay indoors.
The cameras of some TV channels were seized. Cameras of NDTV and ANI were confiscated by the police on M.A. Road and newsmen of other channels were asked not to move out of their offices. “It is like marshal law,” one journalist said.
This is the first time that such restrictions have been put on the media.
District Magistrate of Srinagar Meraj Kakroo confirmed that all the curfew passes of journalists stood cancelled. “The Army is out so no curfew pass will be entertained,” he said.
No papers on Thursday
Newspaper owners have decided not to publish the papers on Thursday in view of the restrictions.
“How can we publish the paper when not a single person is allowed to move around,” Bashir Manzar, editor of English daily Kashmir Images, told TheHindu. He said such curbs were unheard of, that too in a democratically-elected set-up.