SRINAGAR: Authorities in India-held Kashmir (IHK) have banned the publication of a local newspaper saying that its contents could ‘incite violence’ in the disputed Himalayan region.
The English daily “Kashmir Reader” did not publish for the second straight day on Tuesday, following a government order over the weekend for its owner to halt publication.
The order, handed down by police officials to the newspaper’s office, said the paper’s contents are “of such nature that can easily cause incitement of acts of violence and disturbance of public tranquillity in the state“.
However, Hilal Mir, the newspaper’s editor, said that his paper was not given any prior notice or an opportunity to explain its stand.
On Tuesday, Kashmir’s most widely circulated newspaper, “Greater Kashmir,” said in a front-page editorial that the latest ban shows that the government is willing to “take extreme measures” to muzzle the press.
In July, the government shut down printing presses and temporarily banned newspapers from publishing for three days in a sweeping information blackout after days of anti-India protests.
The officials had said the government action was aimed at saving lives and strengthening peace efforts. Local newspaper editors had denounced that ban.
Kashmir is witnessing its largest protests against Indian rule in recent years, sparked by the July 8 killing of a popular separatist Burhan Wani by Indian soldiers.
The protests, and a sweeping security crackdown, have all but paralysed life in the region. According to the state government, it sent the newspaper a notice earlier this month questioning some items it had published, saying they could disturb public order.
More than 80 civilians have been killed and thousands injured in violence related to the ongoing protests, with government forces firing bullets and shotgun pellets at rock-throwing protesters. -AP
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