Meeting on ‘media blackout in Kashmir’ cancelled in Delhi

In a letter to Gandhi Peace Foundation, the police wrote that it had received an input of ‘disturbance in law and order situation’

Published - March 16, 2023 01:41 am IST - New Delhi

A public meeting on “Media Blackout and State Repression in Kashmir” at Gandhi Peace Foundation here on Wednesday was cancelled after the police intervened. The meeting was planned by various organisations under the banner of Campaign Against State Repression.

In a letter, the station house officer (SHO) of the I.P. Estate police station requested the foundation to cancel the booking of its venue for the event. “Information/local input has been received that some anonymous group is planning/ organising public meeting on ‘Media Blackout in Kashmir’ at 3 p.m. on March 15, 2023 at Gandhi Peace Foundation. Efforts to get the details of members of the anonymous group have been made but the same could not be verified,” the letter said.

It added the police had received an input of “disturbance in law and order situation” in view of organising the meeting.

Delhi University professor Nandita Narain, retired Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge Hussain Masood, CPI (M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, filmmaker Sanjay Kak, United Peace Alliance chairman Mir Shahid Saleem and senior journalist Anil Chamadia were among those scheduled to speak at the event..

“This outrageous cancellation at the last minute only serves to reinforce the widely known fact about suppression of free speech, not only in Kashmir, but all over India, including Delhi,” Ms. Narain said. She added the police had earlier tried to cancel the Bharat Bachao programme at HKS Surjeet Bhavan on March 11 and 12, but the organisers had managed to get a court order allowing this event to be held.

Mr. Kak said that it is a telling comment that a seminar on media blackout in Kashmir was cancelled on the grounds that it might disturb the “law and order situation”. “It is out of such authoritarian steps that the abhorrent silence around the situation in Kashmir has been constructed. This silence is not simply a matter of choking self-expression. It is fast becoming the throttling of democracy itself,” he added.

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