Newspapers to be back in Kashmir today; J&K CM's office denies 'approving' ban

New Delhi/ Jammu: Three days after a clampdown on news organisations in the Kashmir Valley, newspapers are expected to hit stands on Tuesday, even as the Chief Minister’s office denied approving the ban on press.Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s top aide Amitabh Mattoo said that the CM office did not approve of the restriction, and claimed it was imposed without her knowledge.

The statement, however, contradicted the government spokesperson’s confirmation of the ban on Saturday. Senior minister Nayeem Akhtar had then said that the “undesirable step was taken to ensure peace”.

“This is an extraordinary situation, very strict curfew will be imposed in the city and newspaper distribution will not be possible. So, we have asked the newspapers not to publish,” he said, claiming the step was taken “to save lives and strengthen the peace efforts”.

“Pakistan has given black day call. There is an attempt to subvert peace, it is an unusual situation so we were forced to take such an undesirable step.”

According his statement, the ban was to last till Monday.
The gag on news media followed a week of violent unrest in the Valley, following the killing of the young Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani. Considered a local hero amongst many of the locals, Wani’s death sparked protests through Kashmir, the worst affected being the southern districts of Pulwama, Anantnag and Kulgam.

As trouble boiled over, leading to more than 40 deaths, newspaper offices were raided and printing presses were stopped.