The statement needs to be contested for two obvious reasons. One, Kashmir Press Club is nonexistent. The term of the body expired in July 15, 2021, and fresh elections were not held for a new body. It was like senior BJP leader and then Speaker of Legislative Assembly Dr Nirmal Singh issuing a statement two years after the dissolution of the State Assembly, signing it as the Speaker.
There is no legitimate body by the name of Kashmir Press Club existent as on date. The newspapers and news portals which carried the statement did it against the journalistic ethics, because the statement did not carry the name of the issuing person. The second important thing which has been deliberately and willfully concealed in the statement is that the man named Sajad Gul has been booked under Sections of 120B, 153B and 505B for serious offences against the security of the state.
How long can we afford to downplay the involvement of some people working for the one or other news organization in militancy-related activities? Every conscious and sane journalist in Kashmir is aware that OGWs and even hybrid militants have intruded into Kashmir journalism. Local and national media houses have been hiring such elements without any knowledge of the background of such persons. In certain cases, it is done willfully. Can anyone sitting in Press Colony or in the building at Polo View allotted by the government for Kashmir Press Club deny the fact that the first publicity chief of proscribed Hizbul Mujaideen was arrested from Press Colony? Can anyone deny that he was associated with an Urdu daily for six long years and simultaneously worked for the proscribed Hizbul Mujaideen till He was arrested in 1996? A number of Journalists have been killed and targeted in Press Colony because militants have placed sources there who identify the targets for them. Recently, Journalist Adil Farooq was arrested with two live grenades after he hurled a grenade at security picket in Hari Singh High Street. Adil was earlier arrested in 2019 and was detained under Public Safety act for his alleged involvement in “providing logistics as well as other support to the active terrorists operating in Khrew area”. At that time there was hue and cry in Kashmir Press club for his detention.
Those from Kashmir Press Club issued the statement in Sajad Gul’s favour should come forward, identify themselves and take responsibility for every single person working with one or the other media house. And certify the credentials for each one of them.