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Restore Press Club, say J&K parties

A lock hangs at the gate of the closed Kashmir Press Club building in Srinagar on January 18, 2022.

A lock hangs at the gate of the closed Kashmir Press Club building in Srinagar on January 18, 2022.

J&K political parties, including the National Conference (NC), Congress and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Tuesday rallied behind now-deregistered Kashmir Press Club (KPC) and sought its restoration.

J&K’s oldest political party, National Conference, asked the Lieutenant Governor “to restore the status quo of the press club and the pending re-registration”.

He said the forcible takeover and subsequent closure of the KPC was the latest milestone in dismantling all insignias of democracy in J&K. “The NC condemns the closure of KPC in the strongest possible terms,” NC spokesman Imran Nabi Dar said.

The J&K government on Monday announced closure of the KPC, saying it was a de-registered organisation and issued an order to hand over its premises in Srinagar to the Estates Department.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, “It seems that the coup and its aftermath was entirely orchestrated to shut down another outlet that served as a medium for journalists to debate and discuss their opinions freely. With every passing day all the safety valves to express dissent are being muzzled.”

The Congress said it unequivocally condemned the closure of the KPC and sought revocation of the closure order in the larger interest of the press freedom.

J&K Apni Party vice president Ghulam Hassan Mir said the takeover of the Club’s building and land in Srinagar “is an unjustified move and the government should have allowed the impartial functioning of the Press”.

CPI(M) leader Ghulam Nabi Malik described the Club’s closing as “an assaults on the rights of the people”.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 5:55:08 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/restore-press-club-say-jk-parties/article38287812.ece