Political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir on October 20 responded with sharp criticism to the sealing of the ''Kashmir Times'' office in Srinagar by authorities. Several journalists offered their services for free to mark their solidarity with the newspaper.
The Estates Department on October 19 sealed the office of Kashmir Times in a government building at Press Enclave. The owners of one of the oldest English dailies in Jammu and Kashmir claimed that "no prior notice was given to them".
"This explains why some of our ''esteemed'' publications have decided to become government mouthpieces, printing only government press handouts. The price of independent reportage is to be evicted without due process," former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said, condemning the action by the authorities.
Several groups of journalists alleged that there are renewed attempts ''to throttle the daily" which has been "at the forefront of fighting against government curbs on communications and press freedom in Kashmir, especially post-August 5". "We express our solidarity and support to its editors and our colleagues there," they said in a statement.
"Some of the undersigned journalists would also like to extend an offer of devoting some work hours, for free, every day to support the Kashmir Times editorial team which can somewhat help sustain the paper in these difficult times," the statement read.
CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami alleged that "it is nothing but vendetta politics and an attempt to suppress the dissenting voices in the region".
Anuradha Bhasin, the executive editor of the Kashmir Times, had alleged that her newspaper was being targeted after she had moved the Supreme Court questioning the media restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir after the Centre abrogated Article 370 in August last year.
"The debilitating restrictions imposed through the complete shutdown on internet and telecommunication services, and severe curbs on the movement of photojournalists and reporters [should] be immediately relaxed in order to ensure the freedom of the press and media," read the petition filed by her on August 10, 2019.
On October 4, Bhasin claimed that the brother of a former legislator from Jammu had entered her residence in Jammu and ransacked the place.
Bhasin had filed a complaint against the man, however, no FIR has been registered yet.