Pakistan’s Foreign Office has issued a statement condemning India’s ‘horrendous crimes and egregious human rights violations’ against journalists and civil society activists in Occupied Kashmir. The statement describes these actions as an attempt to stifle dissent and curb free press.
“India’s entrenched use of brute force and coercion to forcibly silence those raising voices against its horrendous crimes and egregious human rights violations in IIOJK [Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir],” the foreign office said, referring to the armed attack on the Kashmir Press Office (KPC) over the weekend.
On Saturday, a group of journalists stormed the KPC office in Srinagar under the auspices of armed police, who stood by during the raid.
“On January 15, the day when the administration had declared weekend lockdown in view of COVID surge, a group of journalists barged into the club office and forcibly took control of the club by keeping the office members hostage. A large number of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed beforehand for this highly condemnable and completely illegal move,” read a statement from ousted KPC members.
“This move, in which a group of journalists self-appointed itself as an ‘interim body’ is uncivil, illegal, unconstitutional and without any precedence,” the statement concluded.
Journalists in IIOJK face ongoing police raids, threats, arrest and detention, with the frequency and intensity of such intimidations on the rise since August 2019, when the Narendra Modi-led Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government revoked the region’s semi-autonomous status.