‘Greater Kashmir’ newspaper vacates Srinagar office after receiving notice for ‘illegal occupation’
The government notice said the period for which the office was allotted to the publication had expired.
Kashmiri newspaper Greater Kashmir on Thursday vacated its office in Srinagar, which is a government property, after receiving a notice for “illegal occupation” and pending rent, Newslaundry reported.
The office, located in Srinagar’s Mushtaq Press Enclave, was allotted to the newspaper for a year in 2001.
On Wednesday, Greater Kashmir’s Editor-in-chief Fayaz Kaloo received a notice signed by the deputy director of estates, saying that the period for which the office was allotted to the newspaper had expired.
“No further extension order has been issued in your favour till date,” the notice said, according to Newslaundry. “You are occupying the said premises illegally.”
The newspaper was told in the notice that it had to pay outstanding rent amounting to Rs 13,383.
A unidentified member of Greater Kashmir’s management told Newslaundry that the process of the renewal of allotment had been irregular but the newspaper was never served a notice before.
“Renewal is a routine practice but they [governments] don’t do it and things just go on,” the official said. “We don’t know why they have sent this notice [this time].”
Greater Kashmir had time till November 24 to vacate the office but the staff moved furniture and equipment to another place on Thursday itself. “Almost all of the office has been vacated and shifted to Rangreth.” Rashid Makhdoomi, the newspaper’s publisher, told Kashmir Observer.
Greater Kashmir’s sister publication Kashmir Uzma will also operate from Rangreth in Srinagar.
Greater Kashmir is the largest circulating English daily in Kashmir.
In October 2020, the newspaper’s office had been raided by the National Investigation Agency in connection with its inquiry into a terror funding case.
The agency said the case was related to the “so-called NGOs and trusts raising funds in India and abroad in the name of charitable activities and then using those funds for carrying out secessionist and separatist activities in J&K”.
In July 2019, the editor and publisher of the newspaper were summoned to Delhi and questioned by the National Investigation Agency for a week. The investigating agency did not give an official reason for the summons.
Some reports suggested they were questioned for the newspaper’s coverage of the 2016 Kashmir protests, triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani. Others had suggested the questioning of Kaloo, the newspaper’s editor, was related to a terror funding investigation.