Editors Guild Decries That Srinagar Office Of Kashmir Times Was suddenly sealed
January 18, Editors Guild Of India in its press release
… space for media freedom and active civil society has been steadily eroding in the region (Kashmir)….journalists in Kashmir are also charged under heavy penal laws and are routinely detained by security forces for reporting or for their editorials…In October 2020, the Srinagar office of Kashmir Times was suddenly sealed”
Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor, Kashmir Times
Her Essay in The Caravan, August 5, 2020
The helplessness of Kashmiris evinced itself in the breakdown of daily lives. Security forces raided home and picked up men and boys—some as young as nine years old—and tortured them brutally. They were beaten up with rifles, hanged upside down, given electric shocks, their bodies covered with purple bruises before they were let off, if they were. In villages in South Kashmir, the shrieks of torture victims were amplified on loudspeakers to create terror among the listeners. I have been a journalist in the Kashmir valley for nearly thirty years… More than a year later, has Bhasin offered any evidence in support of her bizarre claims for Kashmir? She has stated herself that she has been a journalist in Kashmir valley for nearly 30 years. Surely in 30 years, she has developed sources deep enough to uncover truths. Surely other journalists in Kashmir have the sources to establish the graphic details provided by her, as mentioned above. None of this has emerged or has been corroborated by any other journalist.
Bhasin does not offer evidence in support of her preposterous statements. What may be the reason that Bhasin is concocting such ridiculous tales on Kashmir? She is evidently spinning yarns that Pakistan can conveniently use.
Through her newspaper and through her writings, Anuradha Bhasin has consistently romanticized the separatist sentiment in Kashmir. On January 31, popular journalist from Srinagar Ahmed Ali Fayyaz tweeted that post Independence, Kashmir has seen 43 years of peace and 32 years of violence. “First bomb blast in Kashmir on 31st July 1988…JKLF militants conducted their first attack…17 September 1988.” In response to his tweet, a Kashmiri netizen commented: An obliging Kashmir Times was so excitedly fanning the fires. Another netizen wrote: KT was hand in glove with the anti-national elements… What these netizens are stating is common knowledge in Kashmir. Is Bhasin finding that old allegiance die hard, and hence her outrageous claims in her write-up in The Caravan and elsewhere?
When the Editors Guild decries that “the Srinagar office of Kashmir Times was suddenly sealed”, is it taking into account the incendiary impact of Kashmir Times on vulnerable Kashmiri youth? Does Editors Guild appreciate that even now, Kashmir Times (KT) continues to attempt to fan the flames? Sadly for it, Greater Kashmir pushed KT out of business decades ago by comprehensively claiming this space. Nevertheless, Bhasin tries hard to take forward the torch lit by her father.
ANURADHA BHASIN’S ETHICAL OBLIGATION
* Anuradha Bhasin must reveal with all her writings that her father was a member of Majlis Shura, the supreme command council of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which waged war against the Indian state for separating Kashmir from India
* Anuradha Bhasin must reveal with all her writings that Mr Ved Bhasin was a minister in the government-in-exile formed for Kashmir by late Amanullah Khan, founder of JKLF
In September 2021, a book on Kashmir by Saiba Varma, an Indian anthropologist from the University of California, was at the centre of a controversy. On September 22, The Indian Express carried the report with the headline, A book on Kashmir is in the eye of the storm with questions being raised on representation, accountability and ethics.
A furore was raised after it was found that the author did not give full disclosure to publishers about her father. According to news reports, Saiba’s father was posted in the Valley in the 90’s with India’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The controversy grew as questions were raised about Varma’s “ethical obligations” in terms of disclosing her background. On ground of this controversy, the publisher Yoda Press distanced itself from the book. Arpita Das of Yoda Press tweeted that writers must locate themselves clearly and transparently in their writing.
Can the same questions of “ethical obligations” be raised for Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times? With all her writings, should Bhasin reveal that her father, the late Ved Bhasin, a journalist-cum-activist, was a member of Majlis Shura, the supreme command council of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which waged war against the Indian state for separating Kashmir from India? Through her newspaper and through her writings, Anuradha Bhasin has consistently romanticized the separatist sentiment in Kashmir. Should she reveal with all her writings that Mr Ved Bhasin was a minister in the government-in-exile formed for Kashmir by late Amanullah Khan, founder of JKLF? Should Anuradha Bhasin admit that she was raised in a home environment inclined positively towards JKLF’s armed insurgency in India with backing from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence?
These are questions about “ethical obligations” that face Anuradha Bhasin, in terms of disclosing her background, specifically relating to her father.