In Kashmir, terrorists want to choke the space of pen

Srinagar : The recent threat letters by proscribed terrorist outfit has put three leading media houses in Kashmir on hit list. The media houses are two dailies and one Kashmir based Tv News Channel.

The threat letters were posted by The Resistance Front which is offshoot of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba. These threat letters are usually issued through kashmirfight blog.

The J&K Police has already cracked the case of kashmnirfight blog and arrested several persons in this connection who are believed to provide inputs and data to handlers of this blog.

The recent threats issued through this blog named around 22 journalists asking them to be ready for consequences.Greater Kashmir the leading English newspaper of Kashmir has been named along with the other daily English newspaper Rising Kashmir.

However, the locals in Kashmir believe that Greater Kashmir received this threat only after its transformation.“The Greater Kashmir newspaper was inclined to Pakistan propaganda and was a front runner of separatist propaganda.

It used to present security forces in bad shape and glorifying terrorism, stone pelting,” said a professor at Kashmir University who wished not to be named.The experts in Kashmir said that real threat is for ANN News who from the day of its establishment have reported unbiased facts and never had been the part of Pakistani propaganda.

ANN News was established by Kashmiri youngster journalist Tariq Bhat who has also been named in recent threat letters. Bhat has earlier also received several threats from terror outfits via e-mail, poster on social media and whatssapp calls from across the border.

But Bhat never budged to these threats and continued to perform his professional duties.Bhat appeared in the hit list of terrorists after he grilled several separatists and ISI sponsored people in his famous Tv live show Saath Se Aath.

The senior journalist Ahmad Ali Fayaz in his report has also referred ANN News as “ANN News has emerged as strong pro-India and anti-terror news channel.”The Greater Kashmir has changed its line of reporting and stopped glorifying terrorism and stone-pelting post abrogation of special status of erstwhile state of J&K.

The Rising Kashmir was originally established by Sujaat Bukhari who was assassinated by terrorists.According to media reports, while the blog site that carried the threat may not be officially owned by or linked to any terrorist group, Kashmiri journalists strongly believe that it is based in Pakistan and the anonymous threat is most certainly from a new terrorist group known as ‘The Resistance Front.’

Abrogation of Article 370 effectively demolished Pakistan’s feeble Kashmir narrative and out of sheer frustration, ISI retaliated by escalating violence levels and creating mayhem in Kashmir by directing its most trusted proxy LeT to specifically target innocent men and women belonging to minority communities and migrant workers.

The J&K Police has expedited its investigation in the kashmnirfight blog case and made dozens of raids at different places across Kashmir.One of the senior Police officer said that they would not allow anyone to harm the journalists.

“Journalists in J&K are free to report facts without any bias. Reporting facts are their professional duty. Even we see reports where they raise fingers and question on Police department, civil administration and the government. But we understand that they are working for the welfare of society,” he said.

He said that terrorists want journalists to report fake news and portrait Kashmir in a bad way. “But how can you make the journalist to report at gun point. They will only report facts, the facts what is happening on ground. And the fact is that there is peace, harmony and development,” he added.

Kashmir based journalists said that they are free to work and perform professional duties as there is no harassment or any sort of pressure by government over them.While as Pakistan has a vibrant press, with dozens of outlets producing content that often takes shots at elected officials.

But criticism of the military and intelligence services is a red line.Pakistan State intimidation tactics, from withholding advertising revenue to waging hate campaigns on social media, have driven many journalists and their employers to self-censorship.

Outlets that have ignored these warnings have mysteriously gone off the air or seen their distribution interrupted.In Pakistan, journalism can sometimes be a death sentence. Freedom Network, a media watchdog, found 33 journalists were killed for their work between 2013 and 2019 in Pakistan.

Although deadly violence against journalists has decreased in recent years, attacks continue, even in relatively safe places such Islamabad, where Toor and another journalist were both assaulted in recent times.

Dr. Parmod pawa

Strategic Analyst Foreign Affairs



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