August 10, 2019

Executive Editor “Kashmir Times” Anuradha Bhasin moves SC for immediate restoration of communication lines

New Delhi/Aug,10 : The head of a prominent newspaper in Jammu and Kashmir “The Kashmir Times” has approached the Supreme Court against restrictions imposed on journalists after its special status was scrapped by the central government earlier this week.

“Kashmir Times” executive editor Anuradha Bhasin has sought directions for the immediate restoration of communication lines so that the media can function freely in the region. She also pushed for the centre to relax all restrictions on the movement of mediapersons in Kashmir and some districts of Jammu.

“The absolute and complete Internet and telecommunication shutdown, severe restrictions on mobility and sweeping curtailment on information-sharing in Kashmir at a time when significant political and constitutional changes are being undertaken to the status of Jammu and Kashmir is fuelling anxiety, panic, alarm, insecurity and fear among the residents of Kashmir,” the petition filed by Ms Bhasin read.

The executive editor claimed that she has not been able to publish the local edition of Kashmir Times because of the overarching restrictions on communication services as well as the blockade on media activities. “The Supreme Court is requested to give directions allowing journalists to practice their profession and exercise their right to report freely on the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir after the clampdown on the region since August 4, 2019,” Ms Bhasin said, adding that the centre’s restrictions amounted to curbing the rights of journalists under Articles 14 and 19 of the Constitution.

The petitioner is being represented by her lawyers Vrinda Grover, Soutik Banerjee and Ratna Appnender in the case.

Earlier today, the Editors Guild of India had also expressed “deep concern” over the continued shutdown in communication links with the Valley and the consequent curtailment of the media’s freedom and the ability to report “fairly and accurately” on current developments.

“The Guild urges the government to take immediate steps to restore normalcy for the media’s communication links. Media transparency has and always should be India’s strength, not fear,” a statement issued by the journalists’ body said.

The centre had revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir through Article 370 on Monday, terming it as a historic step to bring “peace and prosperity” to the region. It also bifurcated the state into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The National Conference also filed a petition against the move in the Supreme Court today, claiming that the centre has taken away the rights of its residents without consulting the stakeholders involved.

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Coronavirus: ‘105 people with China travel history kept under home quarantine’ Srinagar: One hundred five people with China travel history are being kept under surveillance in Jammu and Kashmir. However, no one has tested positive for Coronavirus so far. The Nodal Officer for Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory to deal with the Coronavirus, Dr Shafqat Khan told KNS over phone that one hundred five people in Jammu and Kashmir with travel history from China have been asked to remain in home quarantine as a precautionary measure. “So far there is no case of coronavirus in JK. The suspected cases have tested negative and have been advised home quarantine,” The official maintained that all suspected people in Jammu and Kashmir are under observation and are being monitored. ‘They have been asked to remain in isolation and take necessary precautions. However, no one has been hospitalized”, he maintained. He said that preemptive measures are in place to deal with the threat posed by coronavirus in Jammu and Kashmir. Khan said that Government is not taking any chance on the issue of Coronavirus and all those arriving from China, Nepal and other countries are being regularly monitored. He appealed people not to panic.” As on date there is nobody in JK UT to have detected for the coronavirus. Though two people earlier had some flue like symptoms, but both were detected negative for coronavirus,” said Shafqat. The Nodal Officer said that some samples of people who had flue like symptoms were also taken and sent for analyses, but no one has been detected positive for coronavirus. Government has established 33 bedded isolation ward at Government Medical College Jammu for Coronavirus cases and 22 bedded such facility at GMC, Srinagar, SKIMS Soura and Maternity Hospital Sanatnagar in Kashmir valley. The sample taking facility has been kept at GMC Srinagar and GMC Jammu. Meanwhile sources told KNS that the government has asked all the Chief Medical Officers across the UT to maintain the SOPs strictly. They have been asked to transport such people from airport and home to test lifting facilities in designated ambulances. Sources said that Health Department of the UT is in continuous touch with National Center for Disease Control in New Delhi and National Institute of Virology Pune. Sources said that Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, Atal Dulloo also advised the officers to be extra vigilant and follow the established protocol in handling all suspected cases. The death toll in China’s novel coronavirus has gone up to 2,236 with 118 more deaths reported, mostly from the hard-hit Hubei province, while the overall confirmed infection cases have climbed to 75,465, Chinese health officials said on Friday. The number of deaths is higher than the previous day when 114 people died of the disease, but the country reported the lowest number of new infection cases in nearly a month, fuelling hopes that Beijing’s epidemic control efforts were working. By the end of Thursday, a total of 2,236 people had died of the disease and 75,465 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported from 31 provincial-level regions and in China, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in its daily report on Friday.

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