Govt Lifts Ban On Kashmir Reader After 3 Months

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SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to lift the ban on English daily Kashmir Reader, based in Srinagar, and permit the daily to resume publication after having banned it for three months over threat to “public tranquillity.”

“The newspaper had made a representation before the government seeking permission to resume its publication. The case was examined and the government was satisfied that there is no further need to disallow its publication. A formal order in this case will be issued in a day or two,” Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, director, information, Jammu and Kashmir government, told the Indian Express.

Journalists in Kashmir protest against ban on newspaper Kashmir Reader

Kashmir Reader was banned on October 2 this year by the state government, which called the daily a threat to “public tranquillity.” Srinagar deputy commissioner Farooq Ahmad Lone had alleged that the daily consists of “material and content which tends to incite acts of violence and disturb public peace and tranquillity.”

The police invoked Section 144 of CrPC, Section 3 of Newspapers Incitement of Offences Act 1971 and Section 10 Press and Publication Act of 1989 and thereby banned its publication.

The order did not include any particular content that the state government thought had posed a threat to “public tranquillity” or incited violence in the state despite the serious allegations against the newspaper. Kashmir Reader was not even given a chance to respond to the charges levied against them. Instead, the state government warned the newspaper of “forfeiture of its printing press and other properties used for the purpose” if they did not abide by the orders.

The government had also banned all newspapers based in the Kashmir Valley for several days before lifting it following severe backlash and criticism.

Journalists across Kashmir had condemned the ban on the newspaper and also took to the streets to protest against it. The editors group had also taken up the issue with the government, while the Editors Guild of India issued a statement raising questions on the ban.

Sources in the government were quoted by the Indian Express as saying that the ban imposed on the Kashmir Reader has already lapsed.

“Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Farooq Ahmad Lone had invoked section 144 of CrPC, which was valid only for two months. He had written to the Home department to extend it further but the government decided to allow it to lapse. Technically, there is no ban on the newspaper any longer and they can resume publication forthwith,” an official said.—Agencies

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