The RSS-BJP led government treacherously took over the KPC (Kashmir Press Club) which had 300 members, after collapsing the Jammu & Kashmir government.
After revoking the special status (Article 370) of Jammu and Kashmir, in April the government asked the registered societies to re-register under the Registration Act 1860 with the Registrar of Societies and Firms in Kashmir, following which the KPC applied for re-registration in the first week of May. On July 14th the tenure for KPC’s governing body(management and executive committee ) ended, calling to elect a new governing body. The election of the govern body was postponed due re-registration, on 29th December 2021 the KPC received it registration, and on 14th January announced the date for governing body elections as February 15th.
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In few hours after the announcement of the date for the KPC governing body elections, the Registrar suspended the registration for KPC, quoting the reports from CID police J&K on the KPC members was pending, and that registration remains suspended until the reports arrive.
Speaking to the Outlook the Registrar Mehmood Ahmed Shah stated he suspended the registration for KPC as per directions from the Assistant Commissioner. After which on January 15th in the presence of police, paramilitary forces, a select group of journalists who were in no way connected to KPC under the leadership of Saleem pandit took over the KPC premises, announced themselves as the self appointed “interim body”. Later a meeting was convened under the leadership of Saleem Pandit after which he proclaimed himself as the interim chief of KPC.
Speaking to reporters Saleem Pandit stated: the KPC premises were not taken by force, that he was selected as the interim chief, Sulfikur Majit (Deccan Herald) the general secretary, the local daily Gadyal’s author Harshith Ragul treasurer, and under their leadership a fair election would be conducted. Further he also stated a committee would be formed to design a proforma for eligibility as members in the KPC.
The perplexing question is who is this Saleem Pandit? The Modi government had oppressed the reporters of J&K who voiced against revoking article 370 in J&K, amongst a select few reporters who were pro Modi government Saleem Pandit was their favorite. The author of a renowned english newspaper was maligned, on the basis of having contacts with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and employing Jihadi reporters, the reporter responsible for this bias was Saleem Pandit, he was stigma and expelled from the KPC membership in 2019.
After the revoking article 370, the Modi government throttled a democratic media body, since the KPC showed dissent towards the Modi government. The KPC was not just media body, it  was a place where reporters, journalists, freelance journalists, famed photographers, senior journalists, young budding journalists debated politics, and organized political gatherings. The sole reason this fascist government wanted the KPC torn down.
A democratic media was being strangled in addition to the treacherous collapse of a government. If such incidences are allowed to proliferate, it would be a serious threat to a democratic media. The Editors Guild of India, Mumbai Press Club and Delhi Union of Journalists condemned this act of the Modi government stating that: the sanctity of the club was violated and this was a manifestation to smother press freedom.
The former managing, executive body, members of the KPC and other press bodies unanimously condemned the J&K administration for treacherously taking over the KPC, their statement follows:
“It was a day in the COVID lockdown, there was an unusually large presence of visitors at the club, who made the KPC members hostages and forcefully took over the club, before all this happened there were policemen in large numbers enforcing SOPs and paramilitary forces barged into the club.”
The fascists never accept criticism and hate progressive ideologies, not only in Kashmir in the entirety of the country progressive journalists, reporters, writer’s, human rights activists are being oppressed.
In last ten years (as per 2021 statistics) more than 150 journalists have been charged with sedition and arrested under the UAPA, 20% of these charges have come in the year 2022, mostly from the states governed by BJP.
Violence against journalists isn’t violence against one sect; it is violence against democracy, the current scenario is the dark era of saffronised fascist corporate politics, where a majority of journalists have become puppets, the only voice being throttled are that of the democratic journalists, it is our ardent duty to raise our voices for our brethren.
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