SRINAGAR: In a mid night swoop Jammu and Kashmir Police raided several printing facilities here and confiscated the printed copies of Kashmir Observer and other publications.
Police, while conducting the raid, gave no reason for their action.
The raid came as Kashmir entered 8th day of a strict curfew imposed by authorities to curb a mass unrest triggered by police killing of a popular militant commander on July 8.
44 people have since died in clashes with the government forces.
According to eyewitnesses, police raided Kashmir Times Offset Press at Humhama in the city outskirts and ordered it shut. They seized the plates and printed copies of Kashmir Observer and other dailies published at the facility, including Urdu daily Taameel-e-Irshad and its sister publications.
The press is owned by Taameel-e-Irshad Group.
Group chairman Raja Mohiudin said police raided the facility at 2 AM when newspapers were still being printed and detained eight of their employees besides seizing two of the press vehicles.
Reports suggest similar raids at a nearby printing facility which publishes Greater Kashmir newspaper.
Mohiudin flayed police raid saying authorities should have informed newspapers in advance about the gag order.
Kashmir Observer Editor-in-Chief Sajjad Haider denounced the government move and said that despite being under tremendous strain newspapers in Kashmir are filling the information void created by the absence of an alternate Kashmir media. Kashmir, it bears mention, has a lone government controlled television news channel. Local cable news channels were banned in 2010.
Authorities have already snapped cellphone services and mobile internet facility in the Kashmir Valley while shoot at sight orders are in place in curfew bound areas.
Around seven million people remain shut indoors for past one week with no communication with the outside world. People desperate for news and information are also faced with accute shortage of essential commodities.
Amidst all this there only source of information, the local newspapers, too have now been closed down.
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