‘Harassment of J&K journalists’: Mehbooba Mufti writes to PCI, asks it to send fact-finding team to verify claims

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Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
September 28, 2021 2:50:56 am

PDP president and former CM Mehbooba Mufti

ALLEGING HARASSMENT of journalists in the Valley, former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has written a letter to Press Council of India (PCI), asking it to send an independent fact-finding team to Jammu and Kashmir.

“We have witnessed the manner in which fundamental rights such as freedom of speech & expression enshrined in the Indian Constitution have increasingly come under attack, especially in the last two years by a hostile and insecure dispensation,” Mufti wrote to the media watchdog.

“Unwarranted harassment of journalists has become a norm and this policy has been implemented by raiding their homes, summoning and interrogating them on frivolous grounds such as innocuous tweets; conducting background checks of journalists and their family members by CID, withdrawal of benefits including accommodation of some senior journalists, seizure of mobile phones, laptops, confiscating passports, ATM cards etc,” she wrote.

In her letter, Mufti said at least 23 Valley-based journalists have been put on the Exit Control List by the government while scholars studying outside India are also not allowed to travel abroad.

“One had hoped that the Press Council of India would take a suo motu note of these widely reported incidents but it seems that no established watchdog forum, including the courts, has taken any interest in the painful circumstances created in J&K, not to speak of any interventions,” she wrote. “It therefore becomes incumbent upon me to urge you to send a fact-finding team to J&K, to independently verify these claims and take remedial action.”

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