A group of activists who visited Jammu and Kashmir this week claimed that the Press Club of India in New Delhi had barred them from showing visuals they recorded in the region. The group was at the Press Club on Wednesday to present a report at a press conference to share their findings from the visit after the state lost its special status. Parts of the region continue to be in a security and information clampdown for 10 days now.
The group included activist and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) member Kavita Krishnan, economist Jean Dreze, Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women’s Association and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People’s Movements. They visited different parts of the state such as Srinagar, Sopore, Bandipora, Anantnag, Pulwama and Pampore from August 9 to August 13.
The activists claimed that they were not allowed to show video or audio recordings they had collected from their visit. “Press Club told us that we are not allowed to use their projector,” Krishnan said. “But privately we were told by the club authorities that they were under surveillance and pressure.” Later, Krishnan posted a video clip titled “Kashmir Caged” on her Twitter account.
The group claimed that the state had become an “open jail” and that the narrative presented by authorities was different than what they had seen in Kashmir. “The heavy military presence is there only to control the population from protesting no matter how peaceful they may be,” Dreze said.
Press Club of India authorities has said that “We did not tell them anything,” said a Press Club official, who did not wish to be identified. Press Club of India president Anant Bagaitkar was also contacted at 2 pm on Wednesday, but he said that they were still “ascertaining the facts.”
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17 November, 2019