Kashmiri press went offline but still reported on Article 370 -- despite all the odds -Ipsita Chakravarty
Local reporters say the administration has shown systematic bias against them.
To the rest of the world, Kashmiri newspapers have remained frozen in time. On their websites, Jammu and Kashmir is still a state, with its own constitution and special protections under Articles 370 and 35A. Kashmiri parties are still vowing to fight for special status and its leaders have just been put under house arrest.
The websites had last been updated in the early hours of August 5, before Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the government was scrapping the state’s special status, carving it up into two Union Territories and revoking Article 35A, which gave Jammu and Kashmir the power to define permanent residents and grant specific rights, including the right to own land.
As the government cut off all communications, including phone lines and broadband internet, the Valley seemed to disappear in a blip. Newspapers in the Valley were unable to update their websites – but they kept a print edition alive with what scraps of information they could find.
“J&K divided, disempowered and downgraded” said the front page of Greater Kashmir, the Valley’s most widely circulated English daily, on August 6. “Over 550 political workers, leaders detained in Kashmir” was its front page headline on August 8, sharing space with a report on National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visiting villages in South Kashmir.
On August 9: “Revocation of Article 370 historic decision: PM Modi”. On August 10: “Eid celebrations, return of Hajj pilgrims our priority”. There was also a report on the Jammu and Kashmir Upper House being abolished. Doval’s exploits in the Valley continued to be tracked.
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