An editor of Kashmir Times, a prominent daily from Jammu and Kashmir has moved the Supreme Court against the restrictions imposed on working of journalists in Jammu and Kashmir after scrapping of provisions of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories.
In her plea, Anuradha Bhasin, who works as an Executive Editor in Kashmir Times, has sought the top court's directions to the Centre and the administration for restoration of all modes of communication to enable the media to function the Valley.
The petition sought that all restrictions on freedom of movement of journalists and media personnel in Kashmir and some districts of Jammu should be relaxed immediately in order to enable media personnel to exercise their right to report under Article 14, 19 (1) (a) and 19 (1) (g). and 21 of the Constitution.
The Narendra Modi government, in a muscular move, scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir by removing several clauses of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The government also said that it will support a Bill to divide the state into two Union Territories (UTs).
In anticipation of the announcement, the government had flooded the Valley with thousands of additional troops and severed all communication channels, including mobile and broadband internet. Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the Valley and tourists were evacuated. Mainstream politicians, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah along with many others have been arrested and taken to unknown locations.
Due to the ban on internet, sveral local news websites were unable to post stories about Kashmir. Greater Kashmir, a prominent Kashmiri news website, was last updated the night before the announcement of scrapping of Article 370 provisions. While print adition of the Greater Kashmir was being circulated in some parts of the state, the last story filed on its website was five days ago.
Meanwhile, the National Conference has mounted a legal challenge in the Supreme Court to the changes made in the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir, contending that these have taken away rights of its citizens without their mandate.
Arguing that the legislation approved by Parliament and the orders issued by the President subsequently were "unconstitutional", the petition prayed for these to be declared as "void and inoperative". The petition has been filed by Mohammad AKbar Lone and Justice (rtd) Hasnain Masoodi, both Lok Sabha members belonging to the NC.
(With PTI inputs)