Muscling of Media in Kashmir — A G Noorani

Protest after two photojournalists were beaten and harassed by police while covering an encounter in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. — Image Courtesy: Kashmir News Service


DEMOCRACY and laws stop at the Pir Panjal Range. They cover Jammu but the Kashmir Valley, which is predominantly Muslim, is left out. Outrages in the Vale do not move the Indian public or India’s institutions. India’s intellectuals ignore the ones New Delhi commits in Kashmir.

Only recently, a bench of the Supreme Court of India said, “But what we are bothered about is why he was arrested. Proceed against him in accordance with law … But can he be put behind bars for that?” the bench wondered while ordering the release of journalist Prashant Kanojia.

But it provides no comfort to journalists in Kashmir. The editor of the Daily Afaq, Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, is 62 years old and a known hypertensive who has spent more than 35 years in public life. On the night of June 24, his house was raided by the police in connection with a case filed in the 1990s. He was arrested. Cases were filed also against eight journalists including two veterans, Sofi Ghulam Mohammad of Srinagar Times and Ghulam Mohammad Arif of Daily Hamdard, who have already passed away.

Ghulam Jeelani Qadri was granted bail the next day. He was not given any cause for the arrest or the raid. He had been issued a passport twice in the previous 30 years, which testified to the fact that the police had nothing against him. The Kashmir Editors’ Guild (KEG) immediately denounced the action. “How can a person be a proclaimed offender if he is available in his office in the heart of Srinagar for more than 15 hours daily?”


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