On January 22, an article appeared on Scroll.in titled “The Kashmir Press Club saw a government-backed takeover – not a war between factions”. The article authored by Ishfaq Tantry, while referring to the incidents of January 15 at the premises of the Kashmir Press Club in Srinagar, made several assertions and stated that:

  • “The authorities struck against the dub by backing an illegal ‘military-style’ takeover by a group of journalists who barged into the dub offices on January 15.”
  • “Meanwhile, a large posse of policemen, led by senior officers, gave them protection by cordoning off the dub.”

The above assertions are vehemently denied as incorrect and the correct factual position is that the police was not present in support of the group of journalists who assumed leadership of the club on the said date. The only police or security forces present in the chub were two personal security officers of Saleem Pandit, one of the journalists present on the scene, who works for The Times of India, Srinagar.

This article unnecessarily and unfairly drags the local police and security forces into an event that is entirely an internal matter of the Kashmir Press Club members and management. Pertinently, no security person including any senior officer was present at the scene of occurrence except the two personal security officers.

However, since Kashmir Press Club is located in a security zone, as a matter of routine practice, normal deployment outside on the main road is made every day for security, law and order purposes and enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions. Moreover, in view of Republic Day on January 26, enhanced security measures are made every year to combat any security and law and order issues.

The article falsely stated that the group of journalists who assumed leadership of the Kashmir Press Club on January 15 were “backed” by the security forces. This claim was made without any verification and evidence and hence we vehemently deny it as being incorrect. – Rakesh Balwal, Senior Superintendent of Police, District Srinagar